5 user 2 critic

The Spider's Web: Britain's Second Empire (2017)

TV-PG | | Documentary | TV Movie 5 May 2017
How Britain transformed from an imperial power to a financial power.


Michael Oswald


Michael Oswald (screenplay)


Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?



Credited cast:
Joel Benjamin Joel Benjamin ... Self
Peter Cain Peter Cain ... Self
John Christensen John Christensen ... Self
Alex Cobham Alex Cobham ... Self
Paul Gilbert Paul Gilbert ... Self
Michael Hudson Michael Hudson ... Self
Eva Joly Eva Joly ... Self
Paula Edda Klein ... Narrator (german)
Ronen Palan Ronen Palan ... Self
Andrew Piper Andrew Piper ... Narrator (voice)
Nicholas Shaxson Nicholas Shaxson ... Self
Prem Sikka Prem Sikka ... Self
Susan Steed Susan Steed ... Self
Stuart Syvret Stuart Syvret ... Self
Attiya Waris Attiya Waris ... Self


The Spider's Web: Britain's Second Empire, is a documentary film that shows how Britain transformed from a colonial power into a global financial power. At the demise of 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 may be hidden in British offshore jurisdictions and Britain and its offshore jurisdictions are 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 stylized 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 ...

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





User Reviews

A damning documentary
13 November 2019 | by almanac-39178See all my reviews

An eye-opening documentary about just how corrupt the City of London and its offshore tax havens are, how a system of secret trusts and shell companies allows the wealthy and businesses to evade tax, and how their banks and accountancy firms have infiltrated British government, subverting democracy so it works against the interests of the people.

The final narration of the doc sums it up:

"The City of London was the beating financial heart of the British Empire. As Britain's Empire declined, the City transformed itself from a hub operating the financial machinery of Empire into a global financial centre. Former insignificant outposts of Empire became the basis for a spider's web of offshore secrecy jurisdictions that captured wealth from across the globe and funnelled it to the City of London.

Today 25% of international finance is conducted on British territory. Almost half of all the world's secrecy jurisdictions are under British protection. Up to half of all offshore wealth may be hidden in Britain's offshore havens.

Financial services are how Britain's elites make their money, and also where former government ministers, senior civil servants and retired spooks from MI5 and MI6 receive lucrative consulting positions after their time in public service. Together they have transformed Britain and its dependencies into the world's largest tax haven, harming development throughout the world, and turning Britain itself into a country that serves, above all, the interests of its elites."

It's a damning documentary. You pay your fair share of taxes. The rich do not. That is the society Britain has created.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 5 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.


Official Sites:

Facebook | Official site | See more »





Release Date:

5 May 2017 (Mexico) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

We've Got Your Streaming Picks Covered

Looking for some great streaming picks? Check out some of the IMDb editors' favorites movies and shows to round out your Watchlist.

Visit our What to Watch page

Recently Viewed