Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Bono? A Hypocrite?

Leave me alone. Can you not see I am smoking?

Well, he doesn't seem to want to pay his fair share of Irish taxes. You know, the taxes that go towards helping out Third World countries with their debt:

Oct. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Bono, the rock star and campaigner against Third World debt, is asking the Irish government to contribute more to Africa. At the same time, he's reducing tax payments that could help fund that aid.

After Ireland said it would scrap a break that lets musicians and artists avoid paying taxes on royalties, Bono and his U2 bandmates earlier this year moved their music publishing company to the Netherlands. The Dublin group, which Forbes estimates earned $110 million in 2005, will pay about 5 percent tax on their royalties, less than half the Irish rate.

``Among the wealthiest people I suppose it's the norm,'' Jill Cassidy, 23, said on South King Street near a plaque marking the site of Dublin's Dandelion market, where U2 played some of its earliest concerts. ``In U2's position, it does come across as quite hypocritical.''

The tax move has tainted the image of Bono, nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and U2 at home. Now promoting a new DVD, book and album, the band is fighting back. Lead guitarist David Evans, known as The Edge, earlier this month defended the publishing company's move as a sensible decision for a group that makes 90 percent of its money outside Ireland.

``Our business is a very complex business,'' Evans said Oct. 2 on Dublin radio station Newstalk, breaking the band's silence after weeks of public criticism. ``Of course we're trying to be tax-efficient. Who doesn't want to be tax-efficient?''