With a fortune of $31.2 billion and as the 26th richest person in the world, entrepreneur Jorge Paulo Lemann is drawing attention for mention of his activities in the recently released Paradise Papers, a set of 13.4 million documents relating to offshore investment. Lemman is one of the key people responsible for the formation of InBev, the company that bought Anheuser-Busch in 2008. Today, Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) owns approximately 400 beer brands and is valued at around $213 billion.
Contained in the leaked collection, which exposes around $10 trillion worth of investments from 120,000 people and companies around the globe, are documents listing Lemann and two other AB InBev executives — Carlos Alberto (Beto) da Veiga Sicupira and Marcel Herrmann Telles — as directors of several of the companies in question. According to Power360, among the companies cited in the Paradise Papers, five are part of the shareholder structure of AB InBev. Paulo Lemman, da Veiga Sicupira and Telles all currently sit on InBev’s board of directors.
This is not the first time that the world’s largest beer company has been linked to talk of tax avoidance. In early 2016, AB InBev was found by a European Union commission to have received illegal tax breaks in its home nation of Belgium.
In a joint note sent to Power360, three of the businessmen mentioned confirmed that they changed their tax residence outside Brazil with the expansion of business abroad.
Here is the statement (translated):
“With the great expansion of our business abroad we have changed our fiscal residence abroad for several years. The expansion of our business abroad also involved the constitution of vehicles for the purposes of strategic management and planning of our investments and assets abroad. All of our vehicles are legal, comply with applicable rules and laws and somehow participate in or participate in the management of our investments and assets. We comply with all applicable rules regarding the disclosure of information in the countries that we are present or invest. Everything perfectly normal and within the applicable laws.”
This blog will provide updates as they become available.