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U2 star Edge rejects tax evasion accusation

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The Edge of U2 performs live on the pyramid stage during the Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm, Pilton on June 24, 2011 in Glastonbury, England.  (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

The Edge of U2 performs live on the pyramid stage during the Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm, Pilton on June 24, 2011 in Glastonbury, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

Ian Gavan

The Edge of U2 performs live on the pyramid stage during the Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm, Pilton on June 24, 2011 in Glastonbury, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

U2 guitarist The Edge has dismissed accusations the band has evaded paying taxes by moving part of their business activities overseas.

In a strongly worded letter to US newspaper, the 'Baltimore Sun', in response to one from a man named Simon Moroney, the Edge firmly defends the band's tax affairs.

Mr Moroney had criticised US senator Benjamin Cardin for his support of Bono's anti-poverty ONE campaign, which he described as a "lobbying group with no mandate or accountability".

Mr Moroney, from Baltimore, claimed the band's frontman Bono exemplified "the worst characteristics of Wall Street, both for excess and tax evasion".

He also alleged the band had abused the tax exemption scheme for artists in Ireland to amass hundreds of millions of dollars tax free.

In a response sent to the 'Baltimore Sun', the guitarist defended U2's practices and dismissed the "possibly libellous accusation that U2 and Bono have, by moving part of their business activities to Holland, been involved in tax evasion".

He also reiterated a comment made by the Department of Finance that there were no issues with the band choosing to base some of their activities in the Netherlands.

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"For the record U2 and the individual band members have a totally clean record with every jurisdiction in which they are required to pay tax and have never been, and will never be, involved in tax evasion," wrote the Edge.

"Contrary to what Mr Moroney writes," he continued, "Ireland is, thankfully, not bankrupt."

The musician, whose real name is David Howell Evans, also slammed the letter on the grounds that the band and its members had paid "many, many millions of dollars in taxes to the United States internal revenue service over the years".

Protesters voiced their opposition to the band's tax affairs during their headline performance at the Glastonbury festival last month.

A group calling themselves Art Uncut inflated a giant yellow balloon with the message "U Pay Your Tax 2" emblazoned on it as the band took the stage for their debut performance at Glastonbury.

The controversy surrounding the band's tax affairs centres on a company called U2 Ltd, which moved its domicile to Holland when a cap was introduced in Ireland on the artists' income tax exemption scheme of 250,000 euro in 2006.

In a subsequent letter to the newspaper, Mr Moroney clarified that he was not accusing either U2 or individual band membersof criminal tax evasion but saying they had "aligned their business interests with avoiding paying taxes, not criminal evasion".


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