Butler to the World review

“Couldn’t a book ever be more timely?” asked Simon Nixon The times. Oliver Bulloughs Butler for the world is a “highly readable but thoroughly depressing” analysis of Britain’s role in allowing a “shadowy global super-rich” to “launder and hide their vast fortunes”.

The book advances the “certainly indisputable” thesis that much of the country’s elite has “morphed into a dark version of PG Wodehouse’s Jeeves” and caters to the whims of the world’s kleptocrats.

We’ve welcomed corrupt capital in all sorts of ways, he said The economist. Bankers and accountants help shady billionaires stash their wealth in offshore accounts. Reputations are being washed away by our ‘reassuringly expensive’ PR firms, while Britain’s pro-plaintiff defamation and privacy laws help squash awkward questions. Bullough’s study is urgent and sound – and ridicules Boris Johnson’s claim that no country “could do more to root out corrupt Russian money”.

According to Bullough, it all goes back to the 1956 Suez Crisis, Dominic Sandbrook said in The Sunday Times. By exposing “Britain’s diminished post-imperial status”, the crisis motivated the city to reinvent itself as the “amoral servant” of global wealth. While I’m skeptical of this claim – the connection to the empire doesn’t seem entirely clear – what follows is a “grimly fascinating” tour of the various legal and financial loopholes that have allowed Britain to prostrate itself “at the feet of the shady super”. -Rich”.

One chapter explains how the tiny British Virgin Islands became a haven for offshore money. Another explores the “murky world of Scottish limited partnerships” – an obscure financial vehicle exploited by European criminals to hide stolen money “on an industrial scale”.

The chapter on Ukrainian-born billionaire Dmitry Firtash is particularly revealing given the current situation, Will Dunn said in the New statesman. Firtash, writes Bullough, was the “man of the Kremlin in Ukraine” during Viktor Yanukovych’s tenure.

In 2007 he “moved to Kensington” and was welcomed into the heart of the British establishment: he was “honored by Cambridge University, presented to the Duke of Edinburgh and invited to open trading on the London Stock Exchange”. He later bought a disused subway station and was asked to advise the Foreign Office. His story, like many others in this fascinating book, reveals Britain’s shameful role in oiling the ‘wheels of Vladimir Putin’s gang state’.

Profile 288 pages £20; The bookstore of the week £15.99

book cover

The bookstore of the week

To order this title or any other printed book, please visit speak to a bookseller on 020-3176 3835. Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 9am-5.30pm and Sunday 10am-4pm. Butler to the World review

Fry Electronics Team

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