With a mere 137 days until Christmas, many eager shoppers were surprised to see one or two high profile omissions from HM Revenue and Customs' most-wanted register of alleged fraudsters. Yes - there was the 'Friends Box Set', yes - there were the obligatory 'pair of socks', but multi-national tax evaders were no where to be seen.
While Santa's little helpers will be merrily working on zero-hour contracts to get Amazon products to your door, it looks like HMRC's stocking will be empty. 'I'm not even sure he's updated the wish list from last year,' said one disappointed Aunt. 'I had my heart set on buying him a Nexus from Google, some Starbucks vouchers or even the autobiography of Tory donor Michael Farmer: 'Why I love Bermuda''.
A spokesmen for HRMC explained the oversight: 'Yes, we only raised a couple of million pounds focusing on fraud, instead the potential £7bn+ from tackling legal avoidance, but Christmas is as much about giving as receiving'. The scale of 'lawful' evasion is equivalent to the UK's Foreign Aid Budget; ironic given that most of the UK's tax revenue is sitting in overseas bank accounts. Amazon's own wish list includes 'The Washington Post', discount lobbying and a large vibrating egg.
Hat-tip Ian Searle