It's a sorry state of affairs when a financial watchdog needs news organisations to keep up with developments on the regulatory scene.

When a French MP reported to his parliament last week that up to 40 financial services firms in the City were providing the sort of haven Osama bin Laden is keen to use, Insurance Times was immediately interested.

Reports even quoted the Financial Services Authority's (FSA) managing director Philip Thorpe bemoaning the FSA's lack of teeth to the French investigator.

Thorpe's underlings were clearly interested, too. So it was doubly strange that, when contacted by IT, the regulator admitted it had just got a copy of the report - sent to it by the BBC.