Bono richest rocker on planet

Bono, whose reputation for financial canniness unfortunately overshadows his reputation for charitable philanthropy, is about to become the richest rock star on the planet.

A characteristically astute investment in Facebook will reap considerable rewards when the social media company is floated on the stock market. Estimates suggest that Bono’s holding will be worth over £600 million. When he bought the shares in 2009, Bono paid £53 million.

The windfall will put clear water between the diminutive U2 frontman and the mere Beatle Sir Paul McCartney who is down to his last £400 million.

Bono’s investments have been rather more bold and interesting than his music in recent years. Facebook has been the most spectacularly successful item in a broad portfolio that has also sustained a few heavy losses.

It is expected that some of the profits may be channelled into charitable causes, including humanitarian aid in Africa. How much of it will be taxed by the Irish exchequer remains a contentious issue.

In 2009, Debt and Development Coalition Ireland highlighted the fact that U2 had moved their tax affairs to the Netherlands in order to avoid the cap that applied in Ireland. "There is nothing illegal about what they have done in taking advantage of more favourable tax laws," DDCI's Nessa Ni Chasaide said at the time, "but given Bono has invested so much in promoting an end to poverty, we see a contradiction there."

Ireland is among the countries worst hit by the financial crisis in the Eurozone. A few scraps from Bono’s heavily-laden table would not be unwelcome.

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