Nothing To See Here



Work taking place on the LXV building at the corner of Stephen’s Green and Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin 2 last October


Denis O’Brien took advantage of a new tax-efficient legal entity established by the government last year when he sold a landmark building on St Stephen’s Green in Dublin for a reported €30m profit.

O’Brien reportedly sold the LXV building, on the site of Canada House, for €85m last month.

A Sunday Times investigation has revealed that on May 25 O’Brien transferred the ownership of the LXV building into an Irish Collective Asset-management Vehicle (ICAV), a legal structure established by the government two months earlier to attract corporate investment funds to Ireland.

The Real Estate Development and Investment Fund ICAV was set up by William Fry solicitors, which acts for both O’Brien and Fieldsville, the company owned by Catherine O’Brien, the billionaire’s wife. Fieldsville was responsible for developing the six-storey high LXV block on the corner of Earlsfort Terrace, which is almost complete.

O’Brien uses government vehicle to avoid €10m tax on LXV sale (Mark Tighe, Sunday Times, April 3)

Revenue officials are investigating the operation of a new tax-efficient corporate vehicle designed for the funds industry, which is instead being used for property investments.

.. On Thursday, Michael Noonan, the finance minister, responded to questions about ICAVs tabled by Pearse Doherty, Sinn Fein’s finance spokesman, and their use by [Denis] O’Brien in a property deal.

Doherty stated this had resulted “in the exchequer being deprived of corporation tax, income tax and capital gains tax earned on profits from source assets”.

Noonan revealed the Revenue Commissioners have told him they are “currently examining recent media coverage concerning the use of investment funds for property investments. Should these investigations uncover tax-avoidance schemes or abuse, which erodes the tax base and causes reputational issues for the state, then appropriate action will be taken and any necessary legislative changes required will be considered”.

[Denis] O’Brien did not respond to questions relating to his use of an ICAV. The shareholders for the ICAV used by O’Brien are two William Fry trust companies. The firm regularly acts for O’Brien in tax cases.

Revenue probes O’Brien deal over LXV building (Mark Tighe, Sunday Times, April 17, 2016)

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24 thoughts on “Nothing To See Here

  1. Tish Mahorey

    Yeah nothing will happen. No doubt, the scheme was also set up to facilitate local investors in the form of property developers.

    Fine Gael also let Developers put THEIR hands in OUR pockets by introducing a Capital Gains Tax exemption on properties bought between 2011 and 2014 and held for seven years before selling. The vulture funds will also save hundreds of millions through this tax break.

  2. Clampers Outside!

    If DOB really had a “good name and reputation” then this willful shenanigans is just another step by himself to ensure that everyone knows that that is just pure unadulterated bullpoo. I wonder can he sue himself….

  3. Frank

    The phrase “say nuttin'”, comes to mind !
    Or, be prepared to be sued – the lot of ye !!

  4. They Tried To Make Me Go To Rehab

    Fair play, I really have to hand it to him.

    He leaves no stone unturned in bleeding this country dry.

  5. Turgenev

    This country is… whatever ladylike circumlocution you wish to use – as long as people sit there shaking their heads and doing nothing.

    If you’re interested in the fascinating curliness of land dealings in Dublin, take a look at Iniúchadh: Oidhreacht na Cásca tomorrow night (Tuesday 19 April 2016) on TG4, I think at 9.30 – the Moore Street area and how it was bought and sold.

    1. 15 cents

      thats the thing tho, we shook our heads at FG all through their 5 year term, as they made clanger after clanger .. and then .. let them at it again. Same with FF, they completely broke the entire country, and their only penance was one term out of office. It’s like what that woman said on the news “if voting changed anything they’d make it illegal”

  6. Anomanomanom

    So let me get this straight, nothing illegal was done or is happening but it’s a news story about how bad dob is. I despise the man myself but he’s a smart business man. I’d pay no tax if I could.

    1. Panty Christ

      I think the general point is that the last government invented a mechanism to facilitate zillionaires like our pal Denise agus others to avoid revenue

    2. rotide

      Exactlty, there seems to be nothing at all illegal happening here. I guess you can bitch about FG for implementing the policy but all DOB has done is turn a buck. Which is what he does.

      Everyone needs a boogeyman i guess.

  7. Polaroid Fluid

    a country of conformists all just dying to drive their SUV and own their wee mansion in the country, frankly you get the politicians and entrepreneurs you deserve as they clearly reflect your values and aspirations while your youths drink their life away or emigrate to even worse capitalist hellholes.

    1. rotide

      Shame on people wanting nice things.

      If there’s one thing that capitalist hellholes have taught is that Pyongyang is a socialist paradise.

  8. Ferret McGruber

    The article above is missing the bit about William Fry being party to formulating that tax break along with Revenue. Puts a whole different complexion on it.

  9. Truth in the News

    Out the of the frying pan into the fire, never nind asking Dail PQ’s
    There is another way, boycott his media outlets, if the Independent and the
    rest of his rags are left on the shelves, the tax break surplus will soon
    evaporate….the William Martin Murphies and the Tony O’Reillys as media
    barons bit the dust with the Independent already.

  10. Anne

    Noonan revealed the Revenue Commissioners have told him they are “currently examining recent media coverage concerning the use of investment funds for property investments.

    What have media reports got to do with anything?

    The likes of Davys are advertising the fact that NAMA (The world’s largest real estate company as they refer to them) are setting up these investment funds – QIF’s

    ‘Ireland is a leading jurisdiction for the domicile of regulated alternative investment funds. To date, alternative funds (which are generally non-UCITS) established in Ireland have primarily been in the hedge fund and private equity areas. However, there is growing interest in using Ireland as a domicile for international property funds with a particular focus on Europe. This interest has been heightened with the recent announcement that Ireland’s National Asset Management Agency (‘NAMA’), which is said to be the world’s largest real estate company, is to establish a Qualifying Investment Fund (‘QIF’) platform which will invest in real estate and real estate related assets in Ireland , the UK and Europe. ‘

    And –

    ‘A QIF is a regulated Irish fund vehicle targeted at sophisticated
    private and institutional investors. It is the most popular non-
    UCITS fund type in Ireland. All investors must meet a minimum
    initial subscription level of €100,000 …

    While a QIF must be authorised and
    regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland, the normal investment
    and borrowing restrictions generally imposed upon Irish funds
    are automatically disapplied for QIFs. Given this flexibility, they
    are suitable vehicles for riskier alternative investment strategies
    such as hedge funds, real estate funds and venture capital/private
    equity funds.

  11. Anne

    How are a QIF and its investors taxed?
    Irish regulated funds, including QIFs, are exempt from Irish tax on
    their income and gains. Therefore, any rental income or capital
    gains derived from real estate or real estate related assets will not
    be subject to tax in Ireland (foreign taxes may apply however).
    Equally, no Irish withholding tax applies to income distributions
    or payments on redemption made to non-Irish resident investors
    regardless of where they are resident. Certain Irish exempt
    investors may also receive payments free from withholding tax.
    The QIF must be resident in Ireland for tax purposes to benefit
    from this tax exemption

    1. My Meat is Murder

      Yawn. Blah blah something Noonan something tax something something bad Limerick baldy blah
      – every post by Anne, ever

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