The Channel Island of Jersey could consider independence from Britain due to a clampdown on its financial industry, a senior island minister warned in comments published in Wednesday's Guardian.
The island fears that the British government is moving to end to its low-tax status, and is now threatening to bring 900 years of association with the British Crown to a close.
"I feel that we get a raw deal," Philip Bailhache, the island's assistant chief minister, told the Guardian newspaper.
"I feel it's not fair -- I think that the duty of Jersey politicians now is to try to explain what the island is doing and not to take things lying down," he added.
"The island should be prepared to stand up for itself and should be ready to become independent if it were necessary in Jersey's interest to do so."
Britons are increasingly angered by revelations of tax-avoidance schemes as they grapple with recession and an unsustainable public deficit.
Jersey's tax-haven status has come under the microscope and the British government looks set to focus on its tax, legal and regulatory frameworks, which are designed to attract multinational businesses and wealthy individuals.
The island is to open an office in London in an attempt to reassure Britons that it is not leeching the mainland of wealth.
"We understand that the movement is towards collecting as much tax as the UK legitimately can do and it's not part of our function to help UK citizens to avoid paying their dues in the UK," Bailhache told the Guardian.
Jersey, the largest of the Channel Islands, is a self-governing parliamentary democracy and has its own financial, legal and judicial systems.
While it is not a part of the European Union, it is treated as part of the European Community for the purposes of free trade.