Saturday 21 July 2018

Bono used Malta firm to buy part of property

Bono: U2 frontman used a company based in Malta to buy part of a shopping mall in Lithuania. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Bono: U2 frontman used a company based in Malta to buy part of a shopping mall in Lithuania. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Leaked papers revealing investments in tax havens by the world's wealthy suggest U2 frontman Bono used a company based in low-tax Malta to buy part of a shopping mall in Lithuania.

The 'Paradise Papers' document trove, obtained by the International Consortium of Independent Journalists, reveals that the singer was an investor in Maltese company Nude Estates, which bought the Ausra shopping centre in 2007.

Criticism

Bono's spokeswoman told the 'Guardian' newspaper that the rock star, whose real name is Paul Hewson, was a "passive minority investor in Nude Estates Malta Ltd., a company that was legally registered in Malta until it was voluntarily wound up in 2015."

The Dublin band, well known for its poverty-fighting efforts, has faced past criticism over its tax arrangements.

U2 was heavily criticised in 2006 for moving its corporate base from Ireland to the Netherlands, where royalties on music incur virtually no tax.

In 2011, protesters inflated a giant balloon reading "U Pay Tax 2?" during U2's set at the Glastonbury Festival in England.

Speaking in 2013, Bono robustly defended the band's handling of its tax affairs.

He insisted that U2 was in "total harmony with our Government's policy" on tax.

The Ausra shopping centre is located in the town of Utena, some 100km north of Lithuania's capital, Vilnius.

The 3,700sq.m mall was built in 2006 and sold to unknown foreign investors in 2007.

Its management has told reporters they were not aware of Bono's involvement in the property's ownership.

Tax officials in Lithuania said on Monday that they've started to investigate papers and documents belonging to UAB Nude Estates 2, a Lithuanian registered company owned by Nude Estates Malta Ltd and listed as the mall's owner.

Ruta Asadauskaite, spokeswoman for Lithuania's state tax inspectorate, declined to provide further details.

Irish Independent

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