Business Irish

Thursday 18 September 2014

'King of Porn' sets up office in Dublin's Silicon Docks district

Irish low-tax regime attracts adult title shift

Tom Lyons

Published 26/05/2013 | 05:00

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MANWIN, one of the world's biggest porn companies, has opened an office in Dublin after setting up a low-tax intellectual property hub here only six months ago to handle its racy online content.

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The Sunday Independent has confirmed that Manwin – owner of dozens of adult sites, from the globe's most popular adult site YouPorn to the more specialist Tranny Surprise – has become the latest internet giant to open an office in Dublin's Silicon Docks.

It has already hired 33 staff for its office which, is just yards from the entrance of Facebook, the IDA investment flagship, and close to other technology standard-bearers, Google and LinkedIn.

Manwin, which is owned by German-born 'King of Porn' Fabian Thylmann, is not, however, a client of the IDA and its presence here is relatively discreet. The company is located on one floor of a nondescript serviced office close to Grand Canal Quay but a visit by the Sunday Independent to its offices could find no outward sign of the company, which is estimated to make €100m a year from its online activities.

Manwin confirmed to the Sunday Independent that it had opened an office here in recent months and was looking to hire more people.

"We are in the midst of global expansion and very happy to be able to tap into the amazing local talent found in Ireland," a company spokesperson said.

Manwin refused to comment in detail on what it does here or to discuss whether it had located here in part for tax purposes.

"Manwin is a private company and accordingly, matters pertaining to its operations are treated in the same manner," the spokesperson said.

"Manwin is a leading international IT firm, and one of the top five bandwidth consumption companies in the world," she added.

Manwin's sites are estimated to receive 16 billion visitors per month and the company generates cash by selling advertising in a similar way to YouTube, the popular mainstream video search site.

Documents filed in Dublin's Company Registration Office (CRO) show that Manwin has a complex corporate structure here with its interests in Dublin linked to its other businesses in Miami Beach, Florida and Boulevard Royal in Luxembourg.

These records show at different points it has used two of the country's most prestigious law firms, Arthur Cox and A&L Goodbody, to advise it on commercial matters.

Manwin's five Irish subsidiaries are Manwin Ireland Holdco, Manwin Content RK, Manwin Content DP, Manwin Billing Ireland and Manwin Tubes. All of Manwin's companies are registered in Riverview House on City Quay but its actual office is several hundred yards away, further towards the mouth of the river Liffey.

Dublin-based Manwin Content RK Ltd lists over 1,500 online movies and websites which are ultimately controlled by Thylmann, a computer programmer nicknamed in his native Germany 'The Ruler in the Realm of Lust'.

Among the titles listed in Manwin Content's filings are VIP Crew (Where the Girls Like to Get Nasty); Tranny Surprise; MILF Hunter and Mike in Brazil along with even more diverse material.

The documents also show an asset purchase agreement valued at $81m with pages of legal documents governing patents, intellectual property and intergroup deals between Manwin's Irish interests and the rest of the world.

Ireland's low tax policy has been enormously beneficial to multinationals. Media and tech firms such as Apple have set up special intellectual property holding companies here to avail of our low taxes.

Last week's revelations about iPad maker Apple damaged Ireland's reputation, leading to a fire-fighting exercise by Taoiseach Enda Kenny and the IDA.

Irish Independent

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