Monday 20 May 2019

Cosgrave spent €20,000 on ads highlighting corporation tax regime

Paddy Cosgrave pictured at MoneyConf. Photo: Adrian Weckler
Paddy Cosgrave pictured at MoneyConf. Photo: Adrian Weckler
Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

Web Summit founder Paddy Cosgrave has spent what he described “a very small amount” of about €20,000 on Facebook ads highlighting Ireland’s corporation tax regime.

The advisements, which came from the Irish Tax Agency Facebook page, were targeted at people working for the European Commission, the OECD, and the International Monetary Fund.

In addition, people working for a “range of political parties” across Europe that have an interest in Irish tax affairs were targeted.

Earlier this week Facebook removed the Irish Tax Agency page. The social media giant said the page violated its policies against impersonation.

Mr Cosgrave, who has been very critical of Ireland’s tax regime, said he thinks there is “a great crime being committed” in terms of billions in revenue that should be taxed “being siphoned out of this country.”

When questioned, he said his behaviour was “aggressive but justified.”

Addressing members of the media today in Dublin, Mr Cosgrave said he did not know who British Finance - the person who altered IDA Ireland’s Wikipedia page - was, despite relying on them for his tax website.

When asked if British Finance could be relied upon as a reliable source, Mr Cosgrave responded by saying “Wikipedia is a reliable source”.

He said he would not be taking any more measures to highlight the country’s tax regime, adding that he thinks “the game is up” and that Ireland should “start to close down all of these things and start to negotiate a route out of our dependence on a very preferential tax treatment for different entities.”

In respect of his own company Amaranthine,  a San Francisco-based venture capital fund, which is incorporated in Delaware, Mr Cosgrave said “it is more tax efficient to incorporate out of Ireland, but that fund is operated out of the United States…it is the standard procedure for venture capital funds [to set up there].”

He added that he was “availing of tax avoidance structures in my mind by merely established companies in Ireland.”

When asked why he was not launching Facebook ad campaigns against Delaware, Mr Cosgrave said it was because he is a citizen of this country.

“I think you have a moral responsibility where when you think things are wrong and you have the ability to challenge them that you can challenge them. ”

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