The open secret of many global corporations' success — and occasionally, downfall — is to fall between the cracks. Apple, which is based in Cupertino, California, created an Irish subsidiary with no employees, into which it funneled roughly $30 billion between 2009 and 2012 on which neither Ireland nor the United States levied taxes.

Then there is American International Group (AIG), the New York-based insurer, whose London office sold insurance policies on derivatives that the company lacked the funds to redeem when banks demanded their money during the 2008 financial meltdown. The U.S. government was compelled to fork over a guarantee of $85 billion — which eventually expanded to $182 billion in taxpayer dollars — to keep the banks in business.

Neither U.S. nor British regulators kept an eye on AIG's risky practices as it rose. Only as it plummeted, threatening to drag the global economy down with it, did regulators notice that AIG's London office operated in what was effectively a regulation-free zone.