Friday, February 27, 2009

Looks like Bono's not so Bono

Two organizations concerned with reducing national debt and poverty accused U2 of moving its money into tax shelters in other countries in order to avoid paying higher taxes in its home country of Ireland, according to Yahoo News U.K.. The band's official company, U2 Ltd., moved to a finance house in Holland in 2006 after the Irish government scrapped an income tax exemption plan for artists. Nessa Ni Chasaide of the Debt and Development Coalition of Ireland said, "We wanted to raise our concern that while (U2 singer) Bono has championed the cause of fighting poverty and injustice in the impoverished world, the fact is that his band has moved part of its business to a tax shelter in the Netherlands."

Chasaide added, "Tax avoidance and tax evasion costs the impoverished world at least $160 million every year. This is money urgently required to bring people out of poverty." Spokesperson Andy Storey from the justice group Afri also spoke out, saying, "There are trillions of dollars stashed in tax havens. If that money was taxed in the countries where it was earned, governments would have their own resources to improve the lives of their people."

U2 manager Paul McGuinness responded in the Belfast Telegraph, saying, "At least 95 percent of U2's business -- including record and ticket sales -- takes place outside of Ireland and as a result the band pays many different kinds of taxes all over the world." He added, "They continue to remain Ireland-based and are personal investors and employers in the country."

The accusations of financial hypocrisy come just days before the March 3rd release of the quartet's twelfth studio album, No Line On The Horizon.

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