Music News: Bono didn't know he was using a Lithuanian shopping mall as a tax haven


Bono at the 2014 Web Summit in Dublin.
Bono at the 2014 Web Summit in Dublin. (Tristan Fewings/Getty Images)

An international investigation has revealed how many of the world's wealthiest people take advantage of international tax havens — and music stars including Bono and Madonna have benefited, according to the New York Times.

Bono was surprised to learn that he was implicated in the scandal. In a statement, he said he would be "extremely distressed if even as a passive minority investor ... anything less than exemplary was done with my name anywhere near it. I take this stuff very seriously. I have campaigned for the beneficial ownership of offshore companies to be made transparent."

In fairness, these deals get pretty convoluted. Here's how Rolling Stone summarizes the Bono situation:

Per the BBC, Bono owned a share in the Ausra shopping center located in the Lithuanian city of Utena via his stake in a company called Nude Estates, based in Malta. In 2007, Nude Estates bought the mall via a company they incorporated in Lithuania called UAB Nude Estates 2. In 2012, Nude Estates Malta Ltd. transferred the ownership of both Nude Estates 2 and the mall to a new offshore company, Nude Estates 1, based on the English island of Guernsey. Both Malta and Guernsey are low-tax jurisdictions, though foreign investors pay a five percent tax on company profits in Malta, while they pay no tax in Guernsey.

Whoa. Bono says he welcomes the reporting, and the owner of Nude Estates — while denying any wrongdoing — confirms that whatever you think of this deal, the U2 frontman's "involvement has been 100 percent passive and he has not visited any of the locations, nor has he had any involvement in the decision making."

Stars pay tribute to Cohen

At a Monday night tribute in Montreal, stars including Elvis Costello, Feist, Sting, k.d. lang, and Damien Rice paid tribute to the late great Leonard Cohen on the eve of the first anniversary of his death. One of the night's most poignant performances had Lana Del Rey joining the singer-songwriter's son Adam Cohen for a rendition of "Chelsea Hotel No. 2." (Billboard)

Lana & Adam / Chelsea Hotel

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Britney Spears sells $10K painting to Robin Leach

Before you try to wrap your head around this story, remember that it's all for a good cause. At a Las Vegas auction to benefit victims of the recent country music festival shooting, a watercolor painting by Britney Spears sold for $10,000. The buyer? None other than 76-year-old Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous host Robin Leach, who also served as auctioneer. (Rolling Stone)

Meanwhile, a concert to benefit the Las Vegas victims is being planned for Dec. 1. Confirmed acts include the Killers and Imagine Dragons, two of the biggest bands to come out of Sin City in recent years. The lineup will also include Boyz II Men as well as other Vegas entertainers including magicians David Copperfield and Penn and Teller. (Billboard)

Elle King proud of herself for getting out of a "really, really, really tough place"

Elle King has opened up about her sudden recent divorce, which she announced in an Instagram post that expressed her deep sorrow over the development. Now, she tells People, "I'm really proud of myself. I pulled myself out of a really, really, really tough place."

Here's something else that probably cheered her up: this past weekend, she sang the part of Veruca Salt at the Hollywood Bowl as part of a live performance of the score to the 1971 cult classic Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. John Stamos handled the title character's songs, while "Weird Al" Yankovic sang the part of the Oompa-Loompas.

British artist starts new Sgt. Pepper tribute collage

Last year, British artist Chris Barker went viral with his transformation of the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover into a tribute to the music greats we lost in 2016. Barker has now created a new version for 2017, which also marked the 50th anniversary of the album's release. Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Tom Petty, Chris Cornell, and Chester Bennington are among the familiar faces in Barker's new collage. (Billboard)

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