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Butler to the World How Britain Became the Servant of Oligarchs, Tax Dodgers, Kleptocrats and Criminals By Oliver Bullough

Release date: 10th March, 2022
Publisher: Profile Books

List Price: 20.00
Our Price: 14.19
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En route to Stamford Bridge last Sunday for their team?s duel with Chelsea, great hordes of buoyant Newcastle supporters sang merrily of a dramatic shift in financial firepower: ?Chelsea?s skint and the Mags are rich? they bellowed, taunting the home fans, whose response (?Champions of Europe?) was once sufficient to quieten even the most boisterous opponents. It wasn?t on Sunday.

Thanks to their owner?s long-standing links to the war-mongering Vladimir Putin, Chelsea are in financial limbo, unable to sell any tickets, merchandise, or even refreshments lest the proceeds accrue to the sanctioned Roman Abramovich, deemed to have ties to a hostile regime currently attempting to decimate Ukraine.

Did Abramovich?s sanctioning come as a great surprise to anyone? Hardly. If the ?fit and proper? ownership tests were rigorously applied elsewhere in English football, you couldn?t get a cup of half time Bovril at half the country?s stadia.

Butler to the World is not a sports-related book per se, but it?s publication is apposite. Oliver Bullough, an author who specialises in financial crime, shows how dirty money has flowed into the UK thanks to the authorities adopting a the type of no-questions-asked attitude one might expect from an obsequious butler. In fairness, huge quantities of tainted cash has flowed (and continues to flow) into other European nations too and whether this all began in 1956 as a result of the Suez crisis, as Bullough asserts, is debateable, but his call for Britain to make a principled stance against the world?s kleptocrats, oligarchs, tax evaders and crooks will garner considerable support.

Bullough peppers his text with eye-popping details of shell companies established in the British Virgin Islands which are not required to keep any financial records. He introduces readers to Scottish limited partnerships which legitimately avoid paying corporation tax. However, though originally intended for schools and hospitals in countries including Moldova, today they?re used by eastern European criminals to hide stolen money ?on an industrial scale.?

Football has not been the only industry to benefit from having filthy rich owners, many of whom cannot explain how they accumulated their wealth, and nor is the phenomenon limited to England?s Premier League. This, too, will surprise no-one, but Bullough highlights that rules regarding company ownership and dirty money have been lax for too long. Whether Britain, or even the Premier League will take a principled stand and wash their hands of financial criminals and their tainted cash is another matter altogether.




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