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Julio Iglesias’s multi-million network of businesses: from the Virgin Islands to ‘Billionaire Bunker’ | USA

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Image: Sr. García
Image: Sr. García

Spanish singer Julio Iglesias has used five companies located in the British Virgin Islands, which is a tax haven, to acquire a number of properties in Indian Creek, the sought-after island on Miami known as “Billionaire Bunker.” The current value of the homes is as much as $112 million, according to data from Miami-Dade county’s public records. The 78-year-old, who was born in Madrid, is linked to another 15 firms, all of them managed by Trident Trust, one of the administrators at the center of the Pandora Papers, an investigation coordinated by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

Over a two-year period, more than 600 journalists from 117 countries have analyzed 11.9 million files from the offices of 14 different law firms specializing in creating offshore companies in tax havens. This type of company, based in different countries than the tax residence of their administrators, are legal provided that the owner declare them in their place of residence. Problems for the authorities start when anonymity and zero taxation is what is being sought.

In Spain, EL PAÍS and television network La Sexta have analyzed these leaked documents to search for people of public interest who have taken advantage of some of the most opaque jurisdictions in the world. The result is more than 700 companies linked to our country, among which there are dozens of relevant personalities.

As well as the five properties on the island, Iglesias has used another six companies to acquire six more modest properties in the Surfside neighborhood, all of them close to the entrance to Indian Creek, for a total value of $4 million. Via one of these, G-450 Holding Limited, he is the owner of a private plane. Another eight companies that appear do not have a clear function. In total, he is the beneficiary of 20 companies – 16 of them, with his wife, Dutch national Miranda Rijnsburger, and another four that are just in his name. All of them are controlled by a trust – the most opaque vehicle for controlling assets held abroad – called the Julio Iglesias de la Cueva Revocable Trust. It was created in 1995 in the British Virgin Islands with the aim of managing Iglesias’s assets “for inheritance purposes.”

The crooner made this tiny private island just north of Miami Beach fashionable among the elite, with its access to the Atlantic and Biscayne Bay, views of the Miami skyline and total security provided by a private police squad that patrols the perimeter by land and sea to keep out those with prying eyes. Scarcely more than a kilometer square and crowned by a 1930s golf club, the island now has 31 mansions all built with a sea view and surrounded by huge palm trees that shield the owners from view as they cool off in luxurious pools or lie on artificial beaches of pink sand shipped in from the Bahamas. And while the enclave has no stores, hotels or supermarkets, the mansions have private piers for the mooring of luxury yachts. In short, this is among the most expensive expanses of real estate in the United States.

A view last month of the properties located on the southern side of Star Island, in Miami, Florida.
A view last month of the properties located on the southern side of Star Island, in Miami, Florida.Eva Marie UZCATEGUI

With a fortune estimated by Forbes at €800 million, Iglesias is one of the few millionaires to be linked to so many offshore companies, some of which were founded in the late 1990s and beyond. The singer of hits such as La vida sigue igual or Me va, me va, who is widely considered to be the biggest-selling Spanish-speaking artist of all time with around 350 million records sold, has not been a tax resident in Spain since 1978, according to his representative Juan Velasco, who divulged the information during an interview with EL PAÍS. Until at least 2018 he lived in Dominican Republic, but his lawyers, who declined to comment on this story, have not confirmed where his current residency is.

Iglesia blazed the trail to Miami, followed by other Spanish musicians such as balladeer Alejandro Sanz in the 2000s and, more recently, flamenco-pop artist Rosalia. “I have never stopped paying a single damn tax anywhere in the world; where I sing, I pay my taxes,” Iglesias snapped during an interview with television journalist Jordi Évole in 2015.

The way the land in Indian Creek is purchased appears to follow a pattern: a limited company is founded in a tax haven and the land, valued at up to $25 million for an undeveloped lot of about 7,400 square meters, is then bought through that company.

In December 2020, Indian Creek Island made headlines. While Donald Trump clung to the US presidency, and half the world wrestled with the coronavirus pandemic, Trump’s daughter Ivanka and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, were busy reorganizing their assets. The outcome was that one of Iglesias’s vacant plots was sold to the couple for $32,179,000, the official amount registered by Miami-Dade County, according to the US media, although the property records have not yet published the identity of the plot’s latest owner.

The land coincides with the four undeveloped plots Iglesias owns on the most-privileged area of the island, which boasts the best views of downtown Miami. In 2008, he bought the mansion at number 30 and, in 2017, he was asking an eye-watering $150 million for the lot of four empty plots close to his property that, together, gave access to almost 250 meters of seafront. One of those plots is the one that local media, such as the South Florida Business Journal, claim the former president’s daughter has bought.

“It’s the most exclusive and private corner of Miami,” says luxury real estate expert Kevin Kavanaugh from his Miami Beach office. “While the luxury market for new buildings fluctuates every year, according to which penthouses are fashionable, the mansion market is a stable business that grows every year. A secure asset.”

On Wednesday of last week, a construction truck was waiting at the gates of the bridge for access to the island. Neighbors speculate that Ivanka is currently living nearby in Surfside while her mansion on the other side of the bay is being built.

In 2020, another couple of well-known faces acquired a similar piece of land: supermodel Gisele Bündchen and her husband, American soccer star Tom Brady, snapped up number 26, which already has a mansion on it, though the couple stated an intention to demolish it to make way for another ecological and sustainable house, as announced by several American media outlets last December. This piece of land was sold to them for $17 million last October.

English version by Heather Galloway.

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Census 2022 – what difference does it make?

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Next Sunday, April 3rd, is Census night. Millions of people in homes countrywide will fill in page after page of questions, some of which are deeply personal and many of which might be unfamiliar.

But what it is it all about?

At a basic level, Census 2022 will be used to inform planning of public policy and services in the years ahead, according to the Central Statistics Office.

The questions will cover a range of environmental, employment and lifestyle issues, including the use of renewable energy sources in homes.

The questions will help inform policy development in the areas of energy and climate action, and the prevalence of internet access, to understand the availability of and need for internet connections and range of devices used to access the internet.

Questions also focus on changes in work patterns and will include the trend of working from home and childcare issues, while questions are also asked about the times individuals usually leave work, education or childcare, to help identify and plan for transport pattern needs locally and nationally.

Other topics covered include volunteering and the type of organisations volunteers choose to support, tobacco usage and the prevalence of smoke alarms in the home.

And of course there is a time capsule – the chance to write something which will be sealed for the next 100 years.

In this episode of In The News, the head of census administration Eileen Murphy and statistician Kevin Cunningham about what it all means for us.

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Oscars 2022: Will Smith makes Oscar history after slapping Chris Rock over joke about wife Jada Pinkett Smith | Culture

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Will Smith took the Oscar for Best Actor at last night’s 94th Academy Awards, but he also became the protagonist of the ceremony for other reasons. The night was following the script, until Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock on the stage after the latter made a joke about the shaved head of the former’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. Rock had quipped that he was “looking forward to GI Jane 2,” in reference to her look. Pinkett Smith has revealed publicly that she has alopecia. It looked as if the moment had been planned, until Smith went back to his seat and shouted: “Get my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth.”

The moment, which immediately became Oscar history but for all the wrong reasons, left the attendees with frozen smiles, and asking themselves whether it was possible that a veteran such as Smith could have lost his cool in front of tens of millions of people. After taking the prize for Best Actor, the superstar actor made a tearful apology, saying that he hoped the Academy “will invite me back.” Later on, actor Anthony Hopkins called for “peace and love,” but it was already too late. The incident overshadowed the success of CODA, which took the Oscar for Best Picture. Just like the time when Warren Beatty mistakenly named La La Land as the big winner of the night, no one will speak about anything else from last night’s awards.

At first sight, Smith’s actions looked as if they were scripted. When he first heard Rock’s joke, he laughed. But his wife was seen on camera rolling her eyes, and it was then that the actor got up onto the stage and hit Rock. When he returned to his seat he raised his voice twice to shout “Get my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth,” sending a wave of unease and shock through the attending audience. The fact that he used the f-word, which is prohibited on US television, set alarm bells ringing that this was real and not a planned moment. In fact, the curse word was censored by the broadcaster, ABC, in the United States.

During a break, Smith’s PR manager approached him to speak. In the press room, which the actor skipped after collecting his prize, instructions were given to the journalists not to ask questions about the incident, Luis Pablo Beauregard reports. The next presenter, Sean “Diddy” Combs, tried to calm the situation. “Will and Chris, we’re going to solve this – but right now we’re moving on with love,” the rapper said.

When Smith took to the stage to collect his Best Actor award for his role as Richard Williams – the father of tennis stars Venus and Serena – in King Richard, he referred to the character as “a fierce defender of his family.” He continued: “I’m being called on in my life to love people and to protect people and to be a river to my people. I know to do what we do you’ve got to be able to take abuse, and have people talk crazy about you and have people disrespecting you and you’ve got to smile and pretend it’s OK.”

He explained that fellow actor Denzel Washington, who also spoke to Smith during a break, had told him: “At your highest moment, be careful, that’s when the devil comes for you.”

“I want to be a vessel for love,” Smith continued. “I want to be an ambassador of that kind of love and care and concern. I want to apologize to the Academy and all my fellow nominees. […] I look like the crazy father just like they said about Richard Williams, but love will make you do crazy things,” he said. He then joked about his mother, who had not wanted to come to the ceremony because she had a date with her crochet group.

The Los Angeles Police Department released a statement last night saying that Chris Rock would not be filing any charges for assault against Smith. “LAPD investigative entities are aware of an incident between two individuals during the Academy Awards program,” the statement read. “The incident involved one individual slapping another. The individual involved has declined to file a police report. If the involved party desires a police report at a later date, LAPD will be available to complete an investigative report.”

On December 28, Pinkett Smith spoke on social media about her problems with alopecia. She stated that she would be keeping her head shaved and would be dealing with the condition with humor. “Me and this alopecia are going to be friends… Period!” she wrote on Instagram.



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House-price inflation set to stay double digit for much of 2022

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House-price inflation is expected to remain at double-digit levels for much of 2022 as the mismatch between what is for sale and what buyers want continues.

Two new reports on the housing market paint a picture of a sector under strain due to a lack of supply and increased demand driven by Covid-related factors such as remote working.

The two quarterly reports, one each from rival property websites myhome.ie and daft.ie, suggest asking prices accelerated again in the first quarter of 2022 as the stock of homes available for sale slumped to a new record low.

Myhome, which is owned by The Irish Times, said annual asking-price inflation was now running at 12.3 per cent.

Price

This put the median or typical asking price for a home nationally at €295,000, and at €385,000 in Dublin.

MyHome said the number of available properties for sale on its website fell to a record low of 11,200 in March, down from a pre-pandemic level of 19,000. The squeeze on supply, it said, was most acute outside Dublin, with the number of properties listed for sale down almost 50 per cent compared with pre-pandemic levels.

It said impaired supply and robust demand meant double-digit inflation is likely until at least mid-2022.

“Housing market conditions have continued to tighten,” said author of the myhome report, Davy chief economist Conall Mac Coille.

“The broad picture of the market in early 2022 remains similar to last year: impaired supply coupled with robust demand due to Ireland’s strong labour market,” he said.

Soure: MyHome.ie

“One chink of light is that new instructions to sell of 7,500 in the first 11 weeks of 2022 are well up from 4,800 in 2021, albeit still below the 9,250 in 2019. The flow of new properties therefore remains impaired,” said Mr Mac Coille.

“Whatever new supply is emerging is being met by more than ample demand. Hence, transaction volumes in January and February were up 13 per cent on the year but pushed the market into ever tighter territory,” he said.

He said Davy was now predicting property-price inflation to average 7 per cent this year, up from a previous forecast of 4.5 per cent, buoyed strong employment growth.

Homes

Daft, meanwhile, said house asking prices indicated the average listed price nationwide in the first quarter of 2022 was €299,093, up 8.4 per cent on the same period in 2021 and and just 19 per cent below the Celtic Tiger peak, while noting increases remain smaller in urban areas, compared to rural.

Just 10,000 homes were listed for sale on its website as of March 1st, an all-time low. In Dublin, Cork and Galway cities, prices in the first quarter of 2022 were roughly 4 per cent higher on average than a year previously, while in Limerick and Waterford cities the increases were 7.6 per cent and 9.3 per cent respectively.

The report’s author, Trinity College Dublin economist Ronan Lyons, said: “Inflation in housing prices remains stubbornly high – with Covid-19 disturbing an equilibrium of sorts that had emerged, with prices largely stable in 2019 but increasing since.

“As has been the case consistently over the last decade, increasing prices – initially in Dublin and then elsewhere – reflect a combination of strong demand and very weak supply.”


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