Billionaire Richard Branson has not ditched rain-drenched Britain for tax reasons but for his love of the sun-soaked British Virgin Islands, he explains in a blog.
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Branson lives on the otherwise uninhabited Necker Island, which he bought 34 years ago.
Seven years ago, Branson and his family moved there full time.
He says not to evade tax in Britain on his earnings from his business empire, but to give him and his wife Joan a healthier lifestyle that gives them an opportunity to function better in their later years.
Branson and his wife are both in their sixties.
He explains his financial motives involve working for his not-for-profit organisation Virgin Unite.
“I have spent four decades working round-the-clock building companies across a range of markets,” says Branson. “These companies were built from the ground up and created thousands of jobs and paid hundreds of million in tax and will continue to pay tax.
“In the last 10 years, I have worked at expanding the brand worldwide and now have Virgin companies in more than 50 countries. I am proud of my success.”
The Virgin brand first hit the streets in London in the seventies, when Branson set up Virgin Records, a first-floor store in Oxford Street which developed into a mail order business.
The business has developed diversely in to mobile phones, banking, an airline and rail services, among others.
Now, Branson spends his time flying around the world delivering speeches to inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs.
“Every penny I earn from these engagements goes directly to charity,” says Branson. “I have more than enough wealth from my businesses and I would not relocate to somewhere I did not want to live just for tax reasons.”
Branson has an estimated personal wealth of around £3 billion, while the Virgin brand generates around £18 billion a year in revenues. His income from his charity work adds up to millions of pounds a year, he writes, and he plans to continue his not-for-profit work.
Branson also describes his idyllic life on his personal playground in the blog.
“It’s a place where I can stay active and relax,” he wrote. “I surf, play tennis and swim and just play. Over 30 years, Necker and nearby Moskito are the places where my family, friends and I meet and play together. My father’s ashes are scattered here.”
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