"Britain has this network of satellite tax havens around the world that have been acting as feeders," said Nicholas Shaxon, author of the book "Treasure Islands."
Shaxon said he was encouraged by the succession of whistleblowing employees over the years, and described the latest leak as the most significant to date.
"I hope this has created a new willingness among players who are inside the system to say, 'Hang on, maybe this isn't such a good thing,'" Shaxon said.
French President Francois Hollande, who has promised to clean up France's finances, has had a particularly bad week when it comes to news about tax havens. No sooner had Cahuzac acknowledged lying about his offshore accounts than news emerged in the newspaper Le Monde that his former campaign treasurer, Jean-Jacque Augier, was a shareholder in two firms in the Cayman Islands, through a holding company.
Augier said he did nothing wrong. Cahuzac was felled by a recording of him talking about his accounts that was leaked to French website Mediapart.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists consortium promised Friday to continue publishing details in coming weeks. Hudson, the senior editor, said the goal was to shed light on an industry that has thrived on secrecy.
"It becomes a question of not necessarily right or wrong, but it is a question of how our world works and how some folks who have the wherewithal to use havens get a degree of secrecy and tax benefits that average folks don't have access to," he said.
Tim Ridley, former chairman of the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority, warned against any satisfaction people may get from seeing the private banking information of the wealthy splashed across the Internet.
"Whatever may happen with offshore accounts today with everybody smiling about it could happen to onshore accounts in London or New York tomorrow," Ridley said. "Normally people are entitled to information about their financial affairs or their medical affairs to be private."
Ridley said there remained entirely legitimate reasons to set up accounts offshore, even for individuals, especially those from volatile countries: "Unstable governments have a habit of taking people's money in unjustified circumstances."
Shaxon was less concerned about the rights of wealthy individuals holding secret bank accounts.
"I don't think we should be worried about the sensitivities of the poor banker and poor criminals whose criminal activities are being exposed," he said. "If there are people who are doing nothing wrong and their information is being exposed, then it's collateral. It's a price to be paid."
Both Ridley and Shaxon — coming from entirely opposite perspectives — agreed that the disclosures dented the world of offshore banking, but were hardly a fatal blow.
And experts say it will take years for current efforts against secrecy to fully take hold.
"It is ultimately public pressure that is going to make a difference here," Shaxon said.
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