Hunting the havens

The age-old art of prospering from the ultra-low taxes of far-flung offshore centres is under threat from a combination of resentful neighbours and the global financial crisis.

When Guy Hands, the British private equity tycoon, upped sticks for Guernsey this year, it was a coup for the picturesque island 20 miles west of the French coast. His departure from the UK drew attention to one of the world’s richest and most idiosyncratic states. A remnant of the medieval dukedom of Normandy, it is a dependency of the British crown but prides itself on its autonomy.

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