Not long ago, Bono’s trendy anti-poverty lobby group, One, launched a blistering public attack on secretive foreign tax havens that allow very rich people to squirrel away their wealth.
At a press conference in Brussels, where MEPs were debating new anti money-laundering laws, it sternly declared that tax havens were preventing ‘massive sums’ from being spent on the all-important ‘fight against extreme poverty, disease, and hunger’.
‘Anonymous shell companies and trusts [are] often being used to siphon much-needed funds out of developed and developing countries alike,’ added a spokesman for Bono’s organisation, claiming that they’re costing the Third World the staggering sum of ‘a trillion dollars each year’.
Calling for anonymous trusts and companies to be abolished, the spokesman said: ‘Knowing who really owns and controls these entities would go a long way to follow the money and root out corruption.’
Wise words, one might think. And ones that will certainly have struck a chord with the multi-millionaire Irish pop star who founded One in 2004, with support from friends such as Bill Gates and Bob Geldof, to campaign on behalf of the dispossessed.
For yesterday, it emerged that 57-year-old Bono is actually something of an expert on strangely named shell companies which are secretly set up in tax havens in order to help very rich people avoid tax.
Indeed, this globe-trotting voice of conscience happens to have been a director and major shareholder in one — which was yesterday revealed to be the subject of a formal investigation by tax authorities.
The organisation goes by the name of Nude Estates and, according to the so-called ‘Paradise Papers’, it was incorporated in Malta roughly ten years ago in order to help him invest in the Lithuanian property market.