His employers have included investment banks and brokerages such as Drexel Burnham Lambert, Credit Lyonnais Rouse, Refco and Natexis Metals.
As a commodities trader for these investment houses, the sort of work he would have done includes:
- monitoring international market performance;
- providing investment advice and market recommendations to clients;
- trading on behalf of clients;
- liaising with transport, shipping and insurance companies;
- devising ‘hedging strategies’;
- visiting international suppliers;
- meeting with clients;
- interpreting market reports;
- negotiating price, specification and delivery details;
- investigating new business openings.
Yet tonight on Channel 4 News the UKIP leader, Nigel Farage – while trying to brush off the revelation that despite speaking out against tax avoidance strategies he himself had set up an offshore trust fund to minimise tax liability – tried to give the impression that he did not know the Isle of Man is an offshore jurisdiction by asking if the Isle of Man is offshore.
With his career history, this goes way beyond stretching the bounds of credibility. Farage may think he is being clever by attempting to play the ignorant simpleton card. But this isn’t average guy who could be forgiven for not understanding that the Isle of Man is a self governing entity that is only a Crown dependency and therefore in no way part of the UK’s tax jurisdiction. This is a man who needed to understand investment strategies and tax implications of the deals he was executing as part of his job. In fact, it is highly likely he had to advise clients about the tax implications of the trades they were making.
Farage has moved beyond hypocrisy for his ‘do as I say not as I do’ stance on perfectly legal and responsible tax avoidance, and on to dishonesty for his pathetic attempt to make it look like he didn’t know what he was signing up to when opening the trust. It also stretches the bounds of credibility that his financial adviser failed to explain the reason for basing the trust in the Isle of Man was precisely because it is offshore and therefore UK rates of tax would not apply. Further, if he didn’t think or believe the Isle of Man was an offshore jurisdiction, why his comments earlier today about having ‘felt uncomfortable’ about the trust in the first place?
Without any other revelation of the many that could emerge about Farage, this incident and the dishonest way he has attempted to bluff his way out of it, calls into question his character and integrity. Farage can certainly no longer set himself apart from the mendacious politicians in this country and portray himself as a breath of fresh air. He has shown himself to be every bit as slippery and unreliable as the rest of them. He has now been condemned by his own words.
UKIP needs to remove this man before his taint spreads to envelope and damage the party and the prospects of the wider Eurosceptic movement.