Virgin Group billionaire Richard Branson is denying that he fled Britain to avoid a 50 percent tax rate, saying he moved his family to their privately owned island of Necker in the British Virgin Islands for health reasons and because they love it there.
Britain's Sunday Times reported
that the 63-year-old Virgin airlines tycoon was using the residence as a tax shelter, and had relocated to take advantage of the islands' zero tax rate.
However, Branson fired back in his Virgin Group blog post that he actually moved to the island seven years ago and continues to pay taxes, according to CNBC.
"I still work day and night, now focusing on not-for-profit ventures with Virgin Unite, but on Necker I can also look after my health," he wrote, in a reference to his island getaway in the Caribbean.
"There is no better place to stay active and I can kitesurf, surf, play tennis, swim, do Pilates and just play," Branson said.
Branson said his enterprises have created tens of thousands of jobs and have paid hundreds of millions in taxes. He said they would continue to do so.
"I have been very fortunate to accumulate so much wealth in my career, more than I need in my lifetime, and would not live somewhere I don't want to for tax reasons," he declared.
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