Segments in this Video

Protecting Financial Interests (05:34)


The British Empire set up a series of offshore accounts to funnel money to London. This film explores how Great Britain transformed from a colonial to a financial empire. During the Suez Crisis, the United States pressured the U.K. and France to withdraw troops from Egypt. (Credits)

London Euro Dollar Market (03:16)

The Bank of England declared it had no responsibility in regulation because accounts were not in the country. American banks moved finances to London because of the loophole. Secrecy jurisdictions emerged in the Cayman Islands.

Euro Market's Rapid Growth (04:09)

The City of London Corporation runs the financial district with private police and courts. The Lord Mayor's Show, a parade, occurs every November. Experts describe how businesses run the government.

Bank of England (02:36)

When the colonial empire disbanded, the Bank of England used regulatory powers to attract financial interests. After receiving a license, the Bank of Credit and Commerce engaged in financial fraud, money laundering, and terrorism. The Bank of England received numerous tips of illegal activity, but failed to intervene.

British Secrecy Model (04:30)

The offshore business model of the United Kingdom protects its clients. London established branches in remote countries that once belonged in the British Empire. Experts explain how trusts can be created with little regulation.

Offshore Accounts (04:12)

Trusts, shell companies, secret bank accounts, and director nominees make cash flow nearly impossible to track. Eva Joly Mep stresses the need for a public registration of ownership. A whistleblower leaked the Panama Papers of Mossack Fonseca.

No Paper Trail (03:03)

Experts describe how negotiations with the British Government are conducted informally. Britain claims that tax havens are politically autonomous.

Dirty Business (03:04)

Experts describe how the City of London controls the tax havens, but can disavow knowledge of offenses because the accounts are created offshore.

Largest Financial Center (04:13)

The creation of the City of London allowed financial institutions to exploit networks and expertise garnered during the Colonial age. Half of all global wealth may be hidden in secrecy jurisdictions. Experts describe how Africa and developing nations suffer due to tax haven laws.

Lack of Global Standards (02:04)

Western civilizations block creating an international world tax organization. Experts explain how the elite in third world nations loot the country's main export. Developing countries lose in excess of one trillion dollars annually which is funneled into first world countries.

De-Industrial Economies (04:10)

Michael Hudson received a memo from the State Department asking how it could become the next Switzerland. The government wanted to ensure that the money flowing into Vietnam was sent back to America. Errors and Omissions are flight capital.

Tax Evasion (03:47)

British Banks invest in real estate and foreign currency trade instead of British manufacturing. John Christensen worked for Company and Trust Administration and found companies that avoided disclosing conflicts of interest, traded arms, gave illegal political campaign donations, offered kickbacks, and rigged markets.

Researching Tax Evasion (04:23)

Offshore banks and law firms charge exorbitant fees. No one agreed to speak to Nicholas Shaxson when he traveled to the Cayman Islands to investigate.

Suppression (05:00)

After leaking a report about a nurse who was being investigated for killing patients, Stuart Syvret was arrested for violating the Data Protection Law. Authorities arrested him seven times. Christensen describes how someone followed him during a trip to Jersey.

Offshore Bank Accounts (06:45)

Susan Steed and Paul Gilbert investigate Appleby. Politicians sit on the board of directors of the companies they are supposed to regulate. Ian Cameron created several trusts in offshore accounts. Experts stress the need for transparency in financial transactions.

Generating Millions of Dollars (03:18)

Initially, moving money offshore seemed anti-establishment but has become mainstream. Accountants are paid to invent tax evasion schemes for wealthy clients.

Negotiating Cheaper Tax Bills (04:59)

David Hartnett negotiated deals with companies such as British Telecom. When testifying in front of Parliament, he cited confidentiality and refused to testify. The filmmakers confront the accountant at a private event in Oxford.

Buying Influence (06:58)

The Private Finance Initiative provides private money to public infrastructure such as hospitals and schools. Joel Benjamin explains why the corporation is a scam. Approximately 25% of all international finance is conducted on British Territory.

Credits: The Spider's Web: Britain's Second Empire (01:41)

Credits: The Spider's Web: Britain's Second Empire

For additional digital leasing and purchase options contact a media consultant at 800-257-5126
(press option 3) or

The Spider’s Web: Britain’s Second Empire

3-Year Streaming Price: $189.95



This program is an investigation into the world of Britain’s secrecy jurisdictions and the City of London. It shows how Britain transformed from a colonial power into a global financial power. At the demise of the empire, City of London financial interests created a web of offshore secrecy jurisdictions that captured wealth from across the globe and hid it behind obscure financial structures in a web of offshore islands. Today, up to half of global offshore wealth is hidden in British offshore jurisdictions—the largest global players in the world of international finance. How did this come about, and what impact does it have on the world today? This is what The Spider’s Web sets out to investigate. With contributions from leading experts, academics, former insiders and campaigners for social justice, the use of stylised b-roll and archive footage, The Spider’s Web reveals how in the world of international finance, corruption and secrecy have prevailed over regulation and transparency, and the UK is right at the heart of this. “Want to know more about the menace of tax havens and the role of the City of London & Overseas Territories? Then this great film is a must” Frederik Obermaier, Journalist (Pulitzer Prize 2017)

Length: 78 minutes

Item#: BVL146233

Copyright date: ©2017

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video and Publisher customers.