Hypocrite Murdoch tells us how to vote yet avoids billions in tax

The decision to consult Ofcom on whether Rupert Murdoch would be a “fit and proper” person to own BSkyB poses more questions than merely those of media plurality.

Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt’s decision to consult broadcasting regulator Ofcom for advice on whether Rupert Murdoch would be a “fit and proper” person to own 100 per cent of BSkyB poses more questions than merely those of media plurality.

Since the mid-1990s, countries including Britain have allowed the media mogul to pay little corporation tax. As far back as 1995, the Independent reported that in the previous ten years, Murdoch’s News International had paid “virtually no tax”.

While corporation tax was set at 33 per cent, NI paid £11.74m of its £979.4m profit – just 1.2 per cent.

As recently as 2009, News Corporation’s proprietor was being pursued by his homeland’s government after failing to pay the correct rate of corporation tax, both in Australia and the United States.

Earlier this year, Australian Capital Territory (ACT) treasury officials won a legal battle, which awarded them A$77m for avoided taxes and duties. The Guardian reported in 2005 that Murdoch’s family company was moved to Bermuda; the tax bill of A$1.2 billion had the potential to be avoided.

Trevor Bransdon, from financial consultants Godfrey Pembrokem, said:

“Their (ACT’s) claim is that they were owed stamp duty on the transfer of the company from ACT to wherever it’s finished up, I think that’s Bermuda and after about four years investigation and two years of pursuing they’ve managed to get an estimated 77 million out of Rupert in a mix of duties and penalties.”

Having been accused of tax avoidance in a series of legal “flip and spin” moves to tax havens, one government issued a new tax that News Corporation couldn’t avoid. Three years ago, Murdoch’s most powerful competitor in Italy, prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, hit back at his rival by doubling the rate of VAT on pay-to-watch television subscriptions to 20 per cent.

As the Financial Times reported in 2008:

“The 10 per cent rate was set by the first Berlusconi government in 1995, when Mr Murdoch was entering the Italian market and the media moguls were on friendlier terms.”

Murdoch’s empire is not the first or only media company to avoid paying the necessary amount of tax; Conrad Black, convicted in America of fraud and once owner of the third largest group of newspapers in the world, including the Daily Telegraph, wrote in an editorial in 2000:

“People have a legal and moral duty not to evade tax, but they also have a legal and moral right to work out how to pay as little tax as possible, a right which it is in the interest of all citizens to uphold.”

108 Responses to “Hypocrite Murdoch tells us how to vote yet avoids billions in tax”

  1. Leon Wolfson

    Mouse – You have evidence against Tom Baldwin?

    And yes, yes, you want the Labour party to sabotage itself. We get it. You’re overplaying your hand and sounding absurd, as usual.

  2. Ed's Talking Balls

    I found this piece rather interesting:

    //conservativehome.blogs.com/thetorydiary/2011/07/despite-ed-milibands-huffing-and-puffing-more-voters-trust-cameron-on-hacking.html

    It reflects my own view that Murdoch and Brooks are, obviously and quite rightly, deeply unpopular. I strongly suspect that they were before this sordid business came to light too. It shows also that going in all guns blazing and seeking to make political capital out of this is a dangerous strategy for Miliband. I would say it’s misguided, in fact. Those Guardian readers and Labour voters who have been banging the anti-Murdoch drum for years may well be impressed by his interviews (although I suspect that those looking long-term might have some misgivings), but Miliband still appears to be preaching to the converted.

    I know Blair is unpopular among many Labour members (and unlike many Tories, I don’t hold him in high esteem either, for reasons I needn’t go into here), but Miliband would do well to heed his message about giving the party broad appeal. I get the impression that he might end up being one of those leaders popular with his own party but not among the wider electorate.

  3. Rachel Hubbard

    RT @leftfootfwd: Hypocrite Murdoch tells us how to vote yet avoids billions in tax //t.co/F89LdoS #NI #NC #BSKYB #NOTW

  4. Anon E Mouse

    Leon Wolfson – The Labour Party doesn’t need me to sabotage it. By allowing the union dinosaurs to force the wrong brother on the party as leader means they’ve done it themselves. Why don’t you want the party to be electable again I would ask.

    Tom Baldwin: //www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/attack-on-rebekah-brooks-comes-back-to-haunt-ed-miliband-2311635.html

    What evidence do you have against Andy Coulson at present – apart from the usual Labour smears and innuendo.

    Labour suffered it’s worst election defeat since the 1920’s last year and the very polices so unpopular with the public seem to be amplified by your childish responses in this blog.

    No offence….

  5. Leon Wolfson

    Mouse – The police certainly have evidence against him.

    Every offence meant, you’re simply on a crusade to paint Labour as un-electable, and you keep defaming people because you can. The very picture of the nasty party.

  6. The Sun “tax avoiding” front page you won’t have seen this morning | Left Foot Forward

    […] Hypocrite Murdoch tells us how to vote yet avoids billions in tax – Claire French, July 11th 2011 Share | Permalink | Leave a comment Comments […]

  7. Wolf Heart Mohegan

    //t.co/bkdXbfiL //t.co/G6eIZUlc #FoxNews' #Murdoch TAX DODGER IN THE BILLIONS 10/26/11 #NewsCorp //t.co/QIbvCzej

  8. It wos the Sun wot couldn't do maths: Prioritising benefit frauds when tax fraud is 10x worse | Left Foot Forward

    […] course, there may be a reason for their blind eye. As Left Foot Forward reported last year: As far back as 1995, the Independent reported that in the previous ten years, […]

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