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Vice video targets Bermuda tax structure

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A recent Vice programme described Bermuda as “a tax black hole” (Photograph by David Fox)

A cheeky video on YouTube, available to the near 17 million subscriber base of the news product Vice, profanely paints Bermuda as “a tax black hole”.

Titled Exposing How Apple and Nike Made Billions in the Bermuda Triangle, the video purports to explain the international tax manoeuvres of corporate titans such as Apple, Google and Nike.

The set up?

“How did Google and Apple make billions in tax revenue vanish?

“Our trusty pal, The Offshore Accountant, takes us into the Bermuda Triangle, where companies harnessed its spooky powers to make themselves richer.

“Let's break down how the rich live above the law, set up systems to do it and f*** over the rest of us.”

”Welcome to Vice's Offshore.“

The eight-and-a-half-minute video talks of how huge US multinational corporations use American tax loopholes to shift profit from normally taxed countries to Bermuda and a zero corporate tax.

“Ahh, Bermuda,” the commentator says. “Pink sand beaches, a Dark 'n Stormy, some shorts.

“We've all heard of the spooky powers of the Bermuda Triangle, but did you know that companies harness that power to make billions of dollars go away? Do these people get away with it?

“And how did Google, a company supposedly so into not being evil that they made their motto ‘Don't be evil,’ make billions of dollars disappear by using the numbers [evilly] 666?”

The commentator said Google’s Bermuda office is a Post Box, numbered 666 at the General Post Office.

That, they say, is where the company received tax avoidance profits of some $8 billion a year for a total of about $75 billion, before being stopped.

The video also pointed out that the Nike Swoosh logo was commissioned in 1971 by its cofounder Phil Knight when he was an assistant professor of accounting at Portland State University.

“Knight paid $35 to design a logo for his brand, Nike. The Nike Swoosh is now estimated to be worth $26 billion.

“The Nike company was created in Oregon. Phil Knight, born and raised in Oregon. Nike is headquartered in Oregon. So the Nike Swoosh is Oregonian, right?

“Nope. Throw some shorts on it. Give it a Dark 'n Stormy. The Nike logo is Bermudian, baby! At least for tax purposes from the early 2000 to 2014.

“And we only know about the Swoosh's Bermudian status because of the Paradise Papers, a huge leak of documents from an offshore law firm.

“The Paradise Papers outed leaders from nations all over the world: Trump's Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, his Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, Queen Elizabeth, and now King Charles.

“Celebs like Bono, Madonna, and American companies like Apple, Facebook, McDonald's, Disney, Twitter, Uber, Walmart, Yahoo! And of course, Nike and their little Bermudian Swoosh.

“When all these dealings – they're not technically illegal – come to light, then policies change.”

The video also discussed Apple and Google tax policies.

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Published August 14, 2023 at 8:00 am (Updated August 15, 2023 at 8:05 am)

Vice video targets Bermuda tax structure

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