The Olympics and Tax



A new report published today by Ethical Consumer magazine reveals that many of the partner companies bankrolling the London Olympics have subsidiaries in tax havens.

The report identifies that companies including Adidas, BP and BT may be managing their finances to minimise their tax exposure.

Tax avoidance is endemic throughout the entire Olympic operation: HMRC have allowed the Olympic site to become a temporary tax haven whilst LOCOG is using the much-criticised tax haven registered employee benefit trusts to pay organisers' bonuses once the Games are over.

Author of the report Tim Hunt from Ethical Consumer said:

"The real winners in the London Olympics are those companies who stand to make millions out of the greatest sporting event in the world. Their involvement in tax havens suggests that they are avoiding their tax responsibilites and failing in their duty to the British public."

Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion, said:

"While UK taxpayers cover the cost of the huge extra burden placed on our public services by the Games, it's a disgrace that multinational corporations and those participating are able to dodge the taxes they owe - depriving the Treasury of millions in much needed revenue.  LOCOG and the Olympics team have a serious case to answer in allowing the Park to become a temporary tax haven - and so does the Government, which has managed to find around £11 billion to fund the Games while at the same time imposing severe economic austerity on normal working people."

The groundbreaking report surveyed all 11 of the IOC's Olympic Partners and all seven of the London Olympic Partners. The results show that, apart from British Airways, all these companies have subsidiaries in tax havens.

Richard Murphy from the Tax Justice Network said,
"It is bound to cost the UK tens of millions of pounds to give tax concessions to all the large     companies who are operating at the Olympic site. We're giving money away that we need     to solve our debt crisis and to preserve essential public services.

It's a scandal that at the same time that David Cameron is criticising Jimmy Carr for using a     tax haven one, has been created right in the heart of London.”




1 The following companies are IOC Worldwide Olympic Partners and are identified as operating subsidiaries in tax havens: Acer, Atos, Coca Cola, Dow, General Electric, McDonald's, Omega, Panasonic, Procter & Gamble, Samsung & Visa. The following companies are London Olympic Partners and are also identified as operating subsidiaries in tax havens: Adidas, BMW, BP, BT, EDF, Lloyds.

2 The report can be viewed here:

3 Launched in 1989 Ethical Consumer is the UK's leading ethical and environmental magazine.
In each issue Ethical Consumer examines the ethical and environmental record of the companies behind everyday products and services from bread to banks.

4 For more information visit the Ethical Consumer website:

During office hours call: 0161 226 2929
Out of hours: Simon Birch 0796 9086136 Tim Hunt 07971 688096