U2 frontman Bono has been named in the leaked "Paradise Papers," which revealed the secret financial activities of individuals and businesses from all over the world. According to the documents, he invested in a company based in Malta that spent £5.1 million to buy a Lithuanian shopping center, which allowed him to pay tax on only five percent of the profits. Ownership of the center was transferred to a firm based on Guernsey -- an island that takes no tax from company profits -- in 2012, five years after Bono the deal was made.

A spokeswoman for the singer told 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.” She also mentioned his minority stake in the Guernsey company.

Despite his reputation as an evangelist for global financial equality, Bono has been criticized in the past for his own dealings. U2 were accused of making financial hardship worse in Ireland by basing their business outside their home country and thus not paying tax there. In 2015, Bono said there was no wrongdoing, and that the band were simply “trying to be sensible about the way we’re taxed.”

The Paradise Papers consist of 13.4 million documents and represent the second biggest data leak in history. Among others mentioned in the files are Queen Elizabeth II, Facebook, Apple and Nike. Currently being examined by an international partnership of 381 journalists, the papers demonstrate that the “offshore empire” of tax haven operations is “bigger and more complicated than most people thought.”

U2 last week confirmed that long-awaited album Songs of Experience will be released on Dec. 1, with a supporting tour to begin in May next year.


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