Following Russia’s annexation of Crimea, in recent weeks there has been growing coverage and debate in the international media about the role of the West – in particular the City of London – in protecting corrupt Russian wealth. See for example here, here, here and here.
The news doesn’t seem to have reached Jersey. Like a message from an offshore bubble where absolutely everything is secondary to the goal of making money, on March 11th Jersey Finance published another glossy brochure (pdf) with the title “Jersey links with Russia” in English and Russian. By this point Russian troops had already taken over Crimea, and the US had announced visa restrictions on Russians and Ukraine’s Crimeans.
Just a few sample quotes (not even highlights):
– “Jersey, one of the world’s leading international finance centres, is a compelling choice for Russian clients”.
– “It is from this platform of stability, sound regulation and international recognition that Jersey is welcoming new business from enterprising markets such as Russia.”
– “Without doubt Jersey’s skilled network of financial intermediaries and legal specialists, together with its track record and business environment, make it an ideal choice for Russian corporate and private clients.”
The brochure also includes a promotional interview with a private banker. In response to the question “What have you been working on recently?” he says:
“I’ve been helping Russian and CIS clients who have a UK focus. They have investment needs, and property in the London area has been popular.”
Another Q & A has this moment of unexpected candour from a trust fund manager:
“Most wealthy Russian and CIS investors are self-made, having built their fortunes since the fall of Communism, and for the most part they are still relatively young. Their main focus is driven by their political and economic history, so confidentiality and wealth/asset protection are without doubt the main drivers” (Translation: they are corrupt oligarchs who want to keep their stolen assets hidden).
A section on Jersey’s historical links with Russia even mentions Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels – the designers probably had a good laugh about that one.
Please see the whole thing on the Jersey Finance website here.