Socialist Worker

Olympic torch is a rich man's plaything

Issue No. 2307

The 8,000 people who are going to carry the Olympic torch were supposed to be chosen because they were “inspirational”. But the official list shows hundreds of torchbearers were selected just because they are bigwigs at one of the corporate sponsors.

Among them is Lakshmi Mittal—the steel tycoon who is Britain’s richest man. Recruitment firm Adecco has sent its chief executive Patrick De Maeseneire. And Samsung has contributed its director and head of IT marketing, Todd Bouman. Truly inspiring.

Of course, when you’re super-rich, the sky’s the limit. Estimates this week show that 5,000 toffs have dodged tax by buying their homes through offshore companies.

Around 500 of the houses, worth a total of £1.6 billion, were bought in the last year—despite government claims that they’re getting tough on tax dodgers.

A mystery magnate even bought an entire London street this way. Eight London townhouses were bought by an offshore firm, avoiding £10 million in tax.

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The Troublemaker
Tue 12 Jun 2012, 19:45 BST
Issue No. 2307
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