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Bono, Humanitarian, Invested in Offshore Tax Havens

Turns out, "The Sweetest Thing" is hecka money. Haha!

by Lauren O'Neill
06 November 2017, 12:14pm

Image via Wikimedia Commons

The Paradise Papers are a big deal. To save all the head-fuckery and the bullshit and the whatever, what they basically mean is the Guardian and other media partners have investigated into tax avoidance. And what that really means, to you and I, is a whole load of rich people have been doing some offensive things with the money they earn. Take, for example, the Queen – she's been investing money on the Cayman Islands, which is a tax haven. What a rude, uncaring old woman.

But hey! It doesn't all have to be bad. There can be some funny (or at least ironic) things involved too, like the fact that Bono – the U2 Bono, the humanitarian Bono – chucked some of his money overseas into a Maltese company, called Nude Estates. In the fucked up way these companies work, Nude Estates then acquired a shopping mall. And then, in the confusing way that helps these things happen, the mall became the property of Nude Estates 1, based in Guernsey.

It just so happens (*extremely Sherlock Holmes voice*) that both Malta and Guernsey are low tax jurisdictions. As the Guardian points out, company profits are only taxed at 5% in Malta, and they're not taxed at all in Guernsey, whereas the UK's corporation tax currently stands at 19%. So obviously, it doesn't look great for Bono.

Bono, however, appears to not really give a shit. His spokesperson told the Guardian:

Bono 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. Malta is a well-established holding company jurisdiction within the EU.

He's also been similarly blasé about previous findings about his tax habits – which, yes, fine, it's his money, but, I mean. I don't know. Correct me if I'm wrong here, isn't it Bono's literal entire ethos that it's probably not the worst thing in the world to share the wealth a bit? Isn't that what he's always talking about? And isn't tax for... paying for institutions that will... help... people? Maybe I've just not understood. I don't know. Might have the wrong end of the stick.

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