This year’s economic crisis decimated financial institutions across the world, and though many blame everything from subprime mortgage lenders, to profligate consumers, inept regulators, or complex financial instruments like credit default swaps, one oft-overlooked practice may have sharply accelerated the crash. In this short film, the American News Project looks at the use of off-shore, non-transparent tax havens by American banks as a means of disguising their actual assets. How did this practice become so commonplace? And where do we go from here?

Marissa Colón-Margolies

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