Bob Geldof slams reporter who 'lectured' him on tax morals
Fund-raiser suggests his 'time' is a tax payment and asks hack how many irrigation ditches her salary has dug
BOB GELDOF lashed out at a reporter this week after he was asked about his tax arrangements, bizarrely demanding to know how many irrigation ditches her salary had built.
Geldof, who was in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa for the World Economic Forum, was interviewed by Times journalist Lucy Bannerman. Their encounter appeared to go very well at first, with Geldof talking about the huge changes that have taken place in Africa since Live Aid in 1985.
"That sprog who I asked people to help keep alive in 1984 is now a skilled 28-year-old woman with a degree," Geldof said. "So now, I'm asking people to invest in her."
Also in the Ethiopian capital were Kofi Annan, Gordon Brown, Africa's richest man Aliko Dangote and Nigerian leader Goodluck Jonathan.
Attendees had been told that Africa is changing and changing fast. From 2005 to 2009, Ethiopia recorded higher growth than China, and Uganda outperformed India. Last year, Ghana had the highest growth in the world.
Geldof had been enthusiastically talking about boom towns in Africa and the massive changes he had seen since his first visits in the early 1980s.
Then Bannerman asked him about his tax status. After confirming that he is a non-dom and can legally avoid income and capital gains tax on international earnings, Geldof laughed off the Sunday Times Rich List estimate of his worth (£32 million).
When pressed on how much tax he actually paid – the justification for the question being because his big idea, aid, can come from taxes - Geldof exploded.
"I pay all my taxes," he shouted. "My time? Is that not a tax? I employ 500 people. I have created business for the UK government. I have given my ideas. I have given half my life to this."
In a bizarre, heated exchange Geldof jabbed his finger repeatedly at Bannerman and demanded to know how many irrigation ditches she had built with her salary.
The tirade ended with Geldof yelling: "How dare you lecture me about morals", before being led away by his entourage.