Bono has been named in the ‘Paradise Papers’ leak after he used a company based in Malta to invest in a Lithuanian shopping centre.
The U2 frontman used a company based in Malta, a famously low-tax jurisdiction, to pay for a £5.1 million share in the Ausra Shopping Centre in 2007.
According to the newly-leaked documents, he was a direct investor in the Maltese company Nude Estates, which purchased the shopping centre before transferring ownership to Nude Estates 1, a company based in low-tax Guernsey.
In Malta, firms pay tax at just five percent, while Guernsey imposes no tax on company profits.
A spokesperson for Bono has categorically denied wrongdoing, telling 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.’
Despite being well known for his extensive charity work, Bono has previously faced backlash over his tax dealings, with critics claiming that he could have helped to eliminate poverty if U2’s tax base remained based in Ireland.
Instead, it previously transpired that U2 often put their money through the Netherlands, where tax rates have reportedly resulted in increased profits for the Irish rock icons.
Two years ago, Bono dismissed the criticism as “just some smart people we have working for us trying to be sensible about the way we’re taxed. And that’s just one of our companies, by the way. There’s loads of companies”.
U2’s headline slot at Glastonbury in 2011 also saw protestors in the crowd holding a banner with the message ‘U Pay Tax 2’.