Mall That You Can’t Leave Behind

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Documents from Malta’s business registry reveal Bono’s hidden stake in Utena’s Ausra (Dawn) shopping centre in Lithuania (top). property developer Paddy McKillen

The 3,700-square-metre mall, which opened in 2006, was built by Eika, one of Lithuania’s leading developers. In April 2007, the developer announced it had sold the mall to an unnamed “foreign investor”.

The buyer was UAB Nude Estates 2, a Lithuanian company. Records show the company was ultimately part-owned by Bono, via a series of confusingly named offshore companies.

Between 2007 and 2012, UAB Nude Estates 2 was owned by a similarly named Maltese offshore company, Nude Estates Malta Ltd. Leaked registry documents show Bono is listed as one of three owners of Nude Estates Malta, along with a man named Robin Andrew Barnes and Patrick Gerard McKillen.

Mr McKillen is an Irish businessman who also co-owns a luxury Dublin hotel [The Clarence] with Bono and U2 guitarist David Howell Evans, also known as The Edge.

In 2012, ownership of the Lithuanian company was transferred to another offshore company, this time in the British Crown Dependency of Guernsey, called Nude Estates I Ltd.

It is unclear how large Bono’s investment in the Utena mall is, or how much it has earned him. In its 2007 financial records, the Lithuanian company, Nude Estates 2, stated its fixed assets were valued at 19.6 million Lithuanian litas, then worth about $10 million.

Bono used Malta-based firm to invest in Lithuanian shopping centre (The Guardian)

Paradise Papers: Inside Bono’s secret stake in a small-town Lithuanian shopping centre (ABC)

Header: Bertie Blenkinsop

63 thoughts on “Mall That You Can’t Leave Behind

  1. Helga

    Would you leave Bono alone. Sure doesn’t he pay for a musical program in Ireland. He’s trying his best.

  2. marmulade

    Aside from the naked (pardon the pun) Bono-bashing, what’s really the angle on this story?

    “Wealthy man has investments, may part-own Lithuanian shopping centre”.

    1. Clampers Outside!

      Bono told the world to drop the debt of developing countries so they could use money to fix their economies.

      He then happily engages in off shore tax evasion, a big problem for those same countries.

      He would do better, if he practiced what he preached and campaigned to shut down tax evasion through the activities he himself uses to avoid tax.

      For example, Nigeria and Ivory Coast, the only two countries on the African continent with data available, show that “capital flight” from those countries runs at between 1,000 to 3,900% of their National Debt.
      Source: https://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Observer/Pix/pictures/2012/07/22/gu_wealth-offshore-02.jpg

      If Bono was true to his word to stop capital flight and reduce developing country debt he would not be engaging in such activities.

      It’s not that he has done anything illegal, but that many are tired of his double standard rhetoric.

      1. Fact Checker

        It is perfectly normal for people – at all levels of wealth – to look for a certain degree of privacy concerning their financial affairs.

        Where is the evidence that Bono evades tax in this instance?

        1. Clampers Outside!

          https://www.theguardian.com/news/2017/nov/05/bono-malta-firm-buy-lithuania-shopping-centre-u2-paradise-papers
          it is what the news is telling us. if this is incorrect, I will be delighted to know more, or get clarification.

          I’m not saying he’s doing anything illegal, just that he’s full of contradiction when he is using low tax havens that exacerbate the problem of paying off 3rd world debt which he himself says needs to be eradicated.
          It’s a bit of… It’s OK for me, but not you… type double standard, is it not?

          Again, happy to be corrected.

          1. Fact Checker

            Bono has campaigned to drop the debt of, for example, Cameroon.

            Does Bono incur a signficant tax liability in Cameroon? If so, does he structure his affairs to pay as little as tax as is legally possible in Cameroon?

            If the answer is ‘yes’ to both questions then you have a point.

            If the answer is ‘no’ to either question then you don’t.

            I suspect it is ‘no’ because U2 have never played in Cameroon, sell no merchandise there, sell a negligible amount of CDs and get very little legitimate radio airplay either.

          2. Reach For The Stars

            You’re not happy to be corrected, that is a dismal lie

            Fact corrected you and your response was infantile

  3. Not On Your Nelly

    Private citizen does private citizen things with private monies.

    I won’t be voting for him in the next election.

    1. Nigel

      You’ll be voting for someone who’ll allow him to avoid paying taxes! We all will! There’s nobody else credible to vote for!

  4. martco

    erm. struggling to see the point of this
    are youse trying to become the Daily Mail or E! something?
    disappointing

  5. stephen

    Part of the reason for the hate for Bono is because he preaches so much about giving money to charities and big corporations are bad but it turns out he is just as bad for evading tax as all the other rich.

    1. scottser

      it’s more that he sings about inequality, gets paid a shed load then hides it from the tax man thus perpetuating that inequality.

      1. martco

        @Stephen
        see thats the bit I’m disappointed about here. facts. has anyone to date proven he is being dishonest or breaking rules with regard to tax? like I’ve yet to see anything concrete on this. else its all conjecture mashed up with begrudgery. or it’s just us telling him what we think he should and shouldn’t do with his company’s dealings with Revenue…..which would be pure dirge (just like their latest releases which wont ever grow on me)

        1. LeopoldGloom

          He may not be breaking any rules, but that’s not the point. It’s the immorality of it.

          It’s very hard for ordinary joe/joan soap to get by generally. Their taxes are generally all accounted for and swallows up anything from 20-50% of their hard earned pay for which they see broken services in return being run by a paid of overpaid buffoons.

          This incredibly rich man, and others, are able to skew the system. Pay next to nothing, and contribute nothing to the grander social scheme.

          It may be illegaly but it’s morally bankrupt.

          1. Fact Checker

            But Bono’s financial affairs are INEVITABLY going to be extremely complicated. He is not a PAYE worker!

            He has income from touring, album sales, merchandising, and royalties.

            These arise in at least a hundred jurisdictions!

            It is very hard for anyone to pass judgement on his tax affairs with little bits of information here and there.

          2. LeopoldGloom

            Stupid type.

            He is not a PAYE worker, but he gets a very handy tax break as an “artist”.

            At the end of the day he’s still getting paid, someone, somewhere is ensuring that the absolute minimal is getting back to help aid essential services.

          3. Fact Checker

            “he’s still getting paid, someone, somewhere is ensuring that the absolute minimal is getting back ”

            Do you pay more tax than you are obliged to?

          4. martco

            ok so looking at this from another angle. I think everyone has a PAYE way of thinking possibly but in self employed world it doesn’t work as well as you might think. Lets say I’m self employed. Its 2 guys and a van scenario. I have 1x employee and both myself and Mrs Martco (who does the bookkeeping) are directors. 3 wages.The books only have a finite amount of cash. When it comes to wages and Mrs Martco & our personal tax returns it is in fact my accountant’s job is to work out given the money available in the companies books how much we can pay ourselves as efficiently as possible. I’m sorry outraged people but it just is.
            In a straight maths exercise I could pay myself double. but I don’t, I pay myself according to the means the company can afford naturally AND ensuring that I pay as little money as necessary out to Revenue. I could pay myself double but the books would be tight I would reduce the cash on hand and Revenue are going to need a very much larger payment from me in the return at year end which I will never ever see back…..and maybe next year I might be ill for 3 months and I still have to pay wages. Like if any of ye think it should be any other way then you need to go work for yourself and see how that goes for you. I find the moral outrage puzzling although likes of Bono is a big target, I get that. but WTF is “moral bankruptcy” anyway? Is there some measurement device available for this. Please explain. Rules are rules and I play by them. Am I in my above scenario supposed to not abide by the rules? Deliberately fupp myself and my company so I can be morally solvent? seriously?

          5. Cian

            martco, in your scenario above – as long as you are within the law that is fine.
            Unless you are preaching to drop debt of developing countries. In that case you are a hypocrite.

          6. martco

            no doubt. sure even the other 3 of them apparently find him hard to live with when he goes on with the preachy horsesht.

          7. Nigel

            Whatever about Bono’s hypocrisy, the real scandal isn’t that this is illegal, but that it’s legal.

  6. the bottler

    Inheritance tax is 33%. The present tax free limit a child can inherit is £315,000. Eventually Bono and Ali will pass away, hopefully in the far distant future. Will 33% of their wealth (after the tax free allowances are deducted) go back to Revenue?………………will it f**k!

  7. postmanpat

    Just pirate this guys music if your into current U2 music, I’m not into U2 but I would pirate it if I was. While you’re at it just pirate everything and save your cash. It’s all disposable media produced by faceless multinational billionaires who don’t pay tax anyway. Wasting money on physical media financially irresponsible and before you all go blah blah vinyl sound better blah. all music is recorded digitally and transferred to analogue so it sounds the same if not worse. All the best movies and music have all ready been made. save your cash, you’ll need it come the next economic crash , and its going to be a doozy. Bono will be okay though, thanks to the sad idiot U2 superfans.

  8. Anomanomanom

    Nothing to see move on. I avoided paying more for my shopping by going to a non irish market chain, you know what that has in common with what bono done. Both what bono and I done was smart and LEGAL. Granted he did it on much much bigger scale though

  9. Reach For The Stars

    Mother of the Disappeared (millions), this would have been more effective if he had put his money where the streets have no name

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