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Olympic Tax-dodging

July 12th, 2012 by

Olympic Tax Haven

“Loving it: Huge tax breaks for Olympic sponsors”

Imagine seeing that headline on the front of your paper in the final countdown to the Olympic opening ceremony. As the eyes of the world focus on London, this is the perfect opportunity to expose the corporate sponsors who’ll be dodging tax during the games.

The UK’s winning Olympic bid included huge tax breaks for sponsors. As a result, massive multi-nationals stand to make a tax-free fortune. Experts think the UK could be losing tens of millions.

As sponsors, these companies will be banking on loads of positive media exposure. Let’s use that to our advantage, turn the tables, and roll out a massive petition demanding they pay their fair share. If the petition is big enough, and attracts enough media attention, it could be the first step in scaring these image-conscious companies into refusing their gold-plated tax break.

Can you add your name to the petition to the heads of these big companies demanding they turn down their Olympic tax dodge?

The whole reason these gigantic companies are involved in the Olympics is for the image boost it’ll provide. A tarnished brand is their PR team’s worst nightmare. So what’ll scare them most is our huge petition being covered in the media, and high-profile hand-ins at their flagship stores. Sources tell us a few of the sponsors may already be rattled. Let’s show them their Olympic tax-dodge isn’t worth the PR damage by piling into the petition and sharing it with friends.

38 Degrees members keep on voting to tackle tax-dodging. Together, we’ve forced it onto the political agenda. Now it’s time to focus in on the companies who stand to make the biggest profits. A massive public outcry demanding that these Olympic giants pay their fair share could be the first step in putting an end to corporate tax-dodging.


The petition is working. McDonald’s have said they won’t be taking the tax break – can you help keep up pressure on the other sponsors by signing the petition now?

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  • Geraldine Oconnor

    The web campaign dropdownow writes:

    “1984 saw the biggest industrial disaster in human history. A Union
    Carbide factory in Bhopal leaked toxic gas, killing 7-10,000 people in just a
    few days. Today the death toll has reached at least 25,000, and an estimated
    500,000 have been affected. Survivors suffer extreme health problems, the
    groundwater is contaminated, and birth defects in Bhopal are many times higher
    than the average in India. In 2001, Union Carbide (UCC) was bought by Dow
    Chemical, so the responsibility to adequately compensate the gas victims, clean
    up the site and compensate those poisoned by the contaminated water falls to
    Dow. Now Dow are sponsoring the London Olympics, gaining millions of pounds of
    contracts and boosting their reputation. The London Organising Committee of the
    Olympic Games (LOCOG) is supposed to promote environmental, social and ethical
    issues, but Dow is responsible for this ongoing humanitarian and environmental



    Why is Dow involved in this?

    “Union Carbide (UCC) was operating the plant at the time of the disaster.
    The CEO of Union Carbide, Warren Anderson, had signed off the site’s existence
    despite the fact that it was untested technology and toxic chemicals. The
    decisions about cutbacks and safety measures were made by central management,
    by UCC. In 2001, UCC was merged into Dow Chemical. This means that UCC was 100%
    incorporated into Dow. All of UCC’s assets, but also all of its liabilities,
    became Dow’s.  Therefore the
    responsibility to adequately compensate the gas victims, clean up the site and
    compensate those poisoned by the contaminated water now falls to Dow.”


  • Wanderarnd2003

    huh?  your country/government lure corporations into footing the massive bill for the Olympics, in part by offering tax breaks (not tax free, but breaks)… and you are chosen to host the Olympics in London.  

    Now you want to take the tax breaks away?  Will you also allow these corporations to withdraw their money too?

  • Knowlsey

    McDonalds have held there hands high on tax breaks how generous of themNow what about the fact that they are the only ones allowed to sell a bag of chips (yes chips, not fries, I am British) this is not fair, a large organisation such as mac dee’s taking proffits from small business’s and stopping them from making money from a real bag of chips and not the crap they sell


  • http://www.facebook.com/Alan.Page72 Alan Page

    We get chubby and they get chubby …uhh ..their pockets…

  • medicated007

    Yes,why not,’money orientated person’(MOP).The athletes (because it’s supposed to be all about them competing),are there to win Gold,Silver and Bronze medals whilst 4th+ enjoy the fantastic experience in the taking part….oh,and before you (MOP’s) rasp a wee ££££££ statement.Great British Government has year on year paid out £BILLION’s on foreign aid ?? have you seen any result’s for this money(MOP) ?Surely we could use it for Olympic equipment.Oh and remember MOP that to give India £850m aid,and they send a rocket to the moon doesn’t quite seem right to me,(how much could £850m mean to every person in GB,far better spent on OUR Elderly.but then again i am an ignorant no money athlete without the need of sponsers as i scraped(3 jobs) to pay for my gear,i,then,will enjoy it more than anyone else…cheers.Oh and there has been no need for new stadia, we already had them,ask Sir Alex Ferguson.

  • Jeff

    Dow as a sponsor of the Olympics. 

    I fully endorse the Comment by Geraldine O’Connor. I was working in India at the time of the Bhopal disaster in 1984, and have followed the consequences ever since. Union Carbide was the company concerned at the time, and subsequently sold out to Dow. After providing some compensation, Dow insists that it has no further responsibility even though nothing has been done to clean up the site which accordingly continues to pollute the water supply, besides the compensation was to the Indian Government and not to the victims and their families. 

    The respected Indian journal ‘Frontline’ has a detailed article in their issue of 23 March 2012 “Dow and the Olympics” – see their website. This includes the Court cases yet to be settled together with examples of Dow not ‘being a responsible corporate company’  in its dealings in the USA itself and notably in its supply of Agent Orange for use in Vietnam with strength far above the legal limit.  

    Bhopal Medical Appeal has an on-going programmes of campaigns and support to the survivors – details on their website.  

    Recently Amnesty International had a campaign requesting LOCOG to issue an apology for the lax criteria which allowed Dow to be selected as a donor. Apparently as soon as emails began to reach Lord Coe, his email system was blocked….

    I have myself written to Lord Coe several times since the New Year. I’ve not had even an acknowledgement. 

    It is too late to stop Dow as a sponsor, but I suggest 38 Degrees run a campaign such as Amnesty did requesting that LOCOG issue an apology over their criteria for selecting sponsors. It is not too late to do that.