By Liam Deegan
Denis O’Brien’s brand new Gulfstream 650 M-GSIX costing $60 million dollars, was delivered on Saturday 13th July 2013 from Gulfstream Aerospace HQ in Savannah, Georgia to Isle of Man to complete the legal paperwork before continuing onto Dublin on the same day. The Isle of Man is a well known tax haven for the wealthy and elite amongst us and O’Brien like several other notable Irish businessmen such as Larry Goodman and Dermot Desmond also have registered their private jets there, because it saves them an absolute fortune but yet leaves the Irish state short by millions of Euro in much needed tax income.
There is no VAT or duty on the importation of an aircraft using an Isle of Man registered aircraft but the owners have full use of it and can keep it here in the country without penalty by the tax authorities but yet escape time and time again because of creative accounting. No tax on your car and it’s impounded, no tax on your aircraft and it’s ignored because of a tax loophole that benefits the friends and benefactors of the political classes.
However highly placed and trusted aviation sources based in Malta and who keep note of all aircraft movements in and out of there, have told me that the aircraft has only been seen in Malta on four occasions since July 2013 and that it is definitely NOT based there at all. What that means is that Denis O’Brien who says that he lives in Malta, does not really live in Malta unless he is catching a commercial flight between Ireland and Malta every day, which in any conceivable term is impossible. So where does he live if his aircraft has only been to Malta on four ocassions?
Bearing in mind O’Brien’s supposed move to Malta saved him millions of Euro from the sale of his mobile network to BT back in 1999 when he initially moved to Portugal to try offsetting any tax that he was liable to pay on the sale but fought tooth and nail with the Revenue to prove that he didn’t live on leafy Shrewsbury Road because he had no kitchen. Just recently one of O’Brien’s companies obtained planning permission to knock and rebuild his house on Shrewsbury Road to suit O’Brien’s billionaire tastes but interestingly, on the planning application it was stated that the house was and I quote “a family home”.
So who is going to be living there if O’Brien is a tax exile living in Malta?
Back in early January 2015 I posted an article that showed how many times O’Brien’s aircraft was in and out of Dublin in that space of 12 months and it certainly showed that the aircraft was not based in Malta along with its owner but based out of Dublin on what suspiciously looks like a full time basis. This leaves so many questions about O’Brien’s residency and tax status if his aircraft has only been seen landing in Malta on four occasions since July 2013.
Who in the Revenue Commissioners is responsible for making sure that Denis O’Brien’s constant presence is being checked upon?
Certain government ministers and the upper echelon in the Revenue Commissioners know that O’Brien is pretty much living here on what appears to be an almost full time basis with no recourse from anyone of them. It cannot be any clearer that Denis O’Brien does not live in Malta, so again, where does he live?
Meanwhile investigations are also underway that will tell the story of strange goings on with County Councils, a High Court judge with a very public profile, the strange case of a missing cheque and holiday homes belonging to the uber wealthy that don’t appear to be what they seem…