By The Economist

WHEN THE ECONOMIST INTELLIGENCE UNIT, a sister organisation of this newspaper, published the first bound edition of “Tax Havens and Their Uses” in 1975, a queue several blocks long formed outside The Economist’s bookshop in London. Interest in offshore financial centres (OFCs) kept growing over the following 20 years as dozens of new havens popped up, often with help from lawyers based in Wall Street or the City of London. Tax authorities did little to intervene. Beginning in the mid-1970s, Jerome Schneider, a well-known “tax planner”, hawked various tax-evasion schemes with impunity for more than 20 years, even advertising in airline magazines.

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