Britain's treasure islands make G8 tax test for Cameron
* UK seeks tougher rules on beneficial ownership at G8
* Tax campaigners say UK needs to do more on tax havens
* British tax havens are world leaders, activists say
* Tax at G8 could test Cameron's leadership
By William James and Guy Faulconbridge
LONDON, June 14 (Reuters) - Pitching tougher rules on tax evasion to the G8 is a precarious undertaking for Prime Minister David Cameron. Britain's own tax havens are world leaders.
Britain's list of exotic Overseas Territories reads like an accountant's dream menu for a cash-rich Russian oligarch with something to hide, while British lawyers lead the field as gatekeepers for elaborate global mazes of offshore trusts.
Global tax evasion could be costing more than $3 trillion a year according to researchers from Tax Justice Network while as much as $32 trillion - twice the size of U.S. gross domestic product - could be hidden by individuals in tax havens.
"British tax havens are world leaders in providing a particular type of secrecy," said John Christensen, an economist who directs the Tax Justice Network and who began investigating offshore havens in 1978. Continued...