Lithuanian company connected with Bono fined for tax evasion
The U2 frontman has pulled out as an investor from the company.
The Lithuanian holding company, linked to U2 singer Bono has voluntarily paid €53,000 after a tax investigation.
Bono had been an investor in Nude Estates Malta Ltd, which purchased a shopping centre in the Lithuanian city Utena back in 2007.
The Aušra mall was bought for €5.8m and Nude Estates incorporated a Lithuanian company called Nude Estates 2 to hold the property in Utena.
However, after his link to the Lithuanian holdings company was reported, a local tax expert reviewed Nude Estates' accounts and found the mall may have broke Lithuanian laws when the company revalued following the economic downturn in 2010. The revaluation created a loss of €3m which the company later offset against its income. In turn, this enabled Nude Estates to avoid the 15% tax payable on profits.
The company has now voluntarily paid €34,000 in profit tax from 2012 and a further €19,000 as a penalty for the delay in payment.
When the news was first revealed in the Guardian's Paradise Papers investigation, Bono insisted that he was only "a passive minority investor", while also stating that he had been assured that Nude Estates was tax compliant.
"I take this stuff very seriously" he said at the time. "I have campaigned for the beneficial ownership of offshore companies to be made transparent. Indeed, this is why my name is on documents rather than in a trust. The fact is I welcome this reporting. It shouldn't take leaks to understand what's going on where."
Following the latest tax inspection, the U2 frontman has announced that he will be pulling out as an investor, saying:
"I fully support the tax authority’s inspection, and am thankful it’s now complete. It is my understanding that Nude Estates has now voluntarily made a payment to cover a technical error in a 2012 filing.
"Though no wrong-doing by the company has been suggested by the revenue, I am not happy that it took the inspection to reveal this error so I have instructed my advisers to end my investment in the company that I had no hand in running."