In the news

CoPIRG Foundation
The Denver Business Journal
Heather Draper

Colorado companies Liberty Global plc and The Western Union Co. were among the 362 multinational companies found to be maintaining subsidiaries in offshore tax havens, according to a report released Thursday by the Colorado Public Interest Research Group.

Liberty Global, based in Douglas County, landed at No. 11 in the CoPIRG report’s top 20 list of companies with the most tax haven subsidiaries, with 104.

The international cable company has:

    Five subsidiaries in the Cayman Islands;
    Three in the Channel Islands;
    One in Cyprus, three in Hong Kong;
    14 in Ireland;
    Nine in Luxembourg;
    61 in the Netherlands;
    One in Singapore; and
    Seven in Switzerland, the report said.

Liberty Global holds about $8 billion offshore, according to the “Offshore Shell Games 2014” report, written by Richard Williams, Citizens for Tax Justice; Steve Wamhoff, Citizens for Tax Justice; and Dan Smith, U.S. PIRG Education fund.

The report didn’t have an estimate for how much U.S. taxes would be owed on those Liberty Global funds held offshore.

"By booking profits to subsidiaries registered in tax havens, multinational corporations are able to avoid an estimated $90 billion in federal income taxes each year," the report said. "These subsidiaries are often shell companies with few, if any employees, and which engage in little to no real business activity."

Liberty Global, which is now incorporated in London, is the second-largest cable TV company worldwide, with all of its operation in Europe and Latin America. The company declined to comment on the report.

John Malone, Liberty Global’s chairman, hasn’t been shy in the past about his disdain for U.S. corporate taxes, and often structures deals to lower his tax bill. In fact, some have said that Malone incorporating the company in London was another way to cut Liberty’s taxes.


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