Monday, July 11, 2011

Murdoch's News Corp and taxes. Another "shocking" scandal? Updates

 Murdoch corporation is known for avoiding paying taxes,
operating via a host of tax havens, moving profits and losses
between countries. It is long time practice of Murdoch to do
so. Paul Farhi, a Washington Post writer, gave a nice insight
into these practices in 1997, when News Corp was still
registered in Australia.

In 1999 a BBC report looked at Murdoch how much he
paid taxes in Britain:
"According to The Economist, Mr Murdoch has saved at least 
GB Pounds 350m in tax ..."
"How he has done it remains a mystery - and News Corporation is
certainly loath to give away any financial secrets.
But it appears that Mr Murdoch's tax accountants have surpassed
themselves - making full use of tax loopholes to protect profits in
offshore havens."
The article came to the conclusion:
One thing is for sure - the company's accountants and lawyers
deserve a bonus.

In 2005 an article in the Observer briefly noted that Murdoch 
had floated his his family's £3.8 billion personal investment
company in Bermuda - saving himself £522 million in taxes.
Bermuda was chosen because the media tycoon, who chairs
News Corporation, wanted to avoid the taxman after his firm
changed domicile from Australia to the United States recently.

These are just three articles that give a some insight into
the not paying tax tradition of Murdoch's company. So far,
there were obviously no closer looks of tax inspectors
at this practice.

Also well known is meantime the cosy relationship with
whomever. In Britain it included politicians, John Yates,
the assistant commissioner of the (London) Metropolitan
Police, who now regrets having blocked investigations in
2009, or a judge in the UK who threw out a case proposed
by the local police to go to trial, involving a corrupt police
officer, about  the illegally obtained information of politicians.
They were all wining and dining with Murdoch, courting him,
and they were afraid of him. And not just in Britain.
Politicians of all parties were also courting and afraid of
Murdoch in Australia.

In the hindsight of all this it is not impossible that a closer
look by tax inspectors in a number countries could turn up
one or the other thing, if not a bit more, concerning tax

Update: The Daily Mail, a rival tabloid, is taking up the issue
of this as well, raising principle awareness to News Corps
practice of avoiding to pay tax as much as possible.

Update: The US is taking an interest in News Corps books
according to a Reuters article in which it asks whether the
US could do an Al Capone.

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