Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Swedish King in tax probe...

This is a story which would have got the hardest royalists quaking in their boots. Imagine charging someone $101million in tax…well Swedish King Carl Gustav XVI does not need to worry to much as it is not his name on the writ. The tax bill has been issued to a Mr. Berth Milton Jr. head of Private Media Group and is also known as the Swedish Porn King.

Mr Milton Sr. started his little publishing company some 40 years ago, and with liberal pornography laws in place in Sweden he managed to grow is business at a phenomenal rate. Today Private Media which is run by Mr Milton Jr., is the largest adult library in the word. It is available in 37 countries in the world, 680 registered mobile users and with 180 countries visiting their websites daily. This, my friends, is a multi million dollar business.

The company is registered on Nasdaq and the profits looks good. So what has Mr Milton done to upset the system…well he did what everyone else does who becomes a little bit too greedy. Instead of embracing the country whose liberal laws made it possible for his family to earn the money from their chosen trade, he moved his business to Barcelona, Spain. Now we all know that Sangria, a couple of weeks in sun looking at the pretty girls sunbathing, not that this would bother Mr. Milton as he has probably “seen it all before”, is relaxing and enjoyable. But living there? Lunch from 1 – 4, then dinner at midnight? Service in the utilities companies? Call the telephone company to complain and you get someone who always answers mañana…I don’t think so Jose…you would not get any business done.

You see Spain is not known internationally for business. First of all they speak 6 languages there or six versions of one. Their biggest revenue stream is tourism, when tourism started to drop it became real estate which was so corrupt that old Deidre and Alan from Worcestershire lost their dream villa as it didn’t have the correct local planning permission, they were not the only ones. I am sure that one of the richest politicians in Spain might be the guy who handles the building applications.

Now Mr Milton thought that this would be an excellent place to run his business from so in 1989 he declared that he was leaving Sweden. There was only one little snag…he did not have a permanent address in Spain. At the time when he was living in Spain he oversaw the redevelopment of his property in Sweden. “The King” and his family lived at luxury house in the archipelago of Stockholm and at the same time as he supposedly was enjoying the Spanish customs he had a number of cars registered in Sweden.

The Swedish board of taxation takes a dim view of people like this and started proceedings against Mr Milton, an enquiry, which has taken years to complete and last week it was decided Mr Milton need to pay up…

I am not sure if I am going to laugh or feel sorry about Mr Milton? The simple mistake he did was not to buy a small hacienda… It now looks like this mistake will cost him some $101M, so don’t be surprised if you suddenly find that your subscription of “Naughty Knockers” is going up a few quid…

What is amazing in all of this is the fact that pornography is now part of mainstream business. It is no longer dealt with at small printing shops on some dodgy printers; it is a high tech, well organised machine. I would have loved going to school knowing that my rich classmates’ dad was a pornographer…what a hoot…

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