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'Porn king' nailed with whopping tax bill

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'Porn king' nailed with whopping tax bill
08:36 CET+01:00
Berth Milton, head of the Private Media Group adult entertainment empire, has been hit with an 865 million kronor ($100 million) tax bill following a Swedish court judgment.

He called the figure a "fantasy sum" and vowed to appeal the ruling by the Stockholm County Administrative Court (Länsrätten).

“The county administrative court is like the Tax Agency's right hand and so far we've won everything in the administrative court of appeal,” said Milton.

He contends the figure was simply cobbled together by staff at the Tax Agency.

“If I sold refrigerators, none of this would have happened. It's only because I'm involved with pornography,” he said.

“They can't handle that I manage a pornography company in a legal manner.”

The investigation of Milton's tax arrears has dragged on for the past decade.

According to the court, Milton – referred to as "the porn king" in the Swedish media – earned 1.35 billion kronor in unreported income between 1996 and 1999, according to the Aftonbladet newspaper.

Milton took over the family porn business from his father, Berth Sr., in 1990 and moved it to Barcelona, Span.

The move irreparably damaged relations between father and son, but allowed Milton Jr. to transform the then-struggling magazine into a multi-million dollar porn empire.

In 1999, Milton Jr. took the Private Media Group public, making it the first pornography company with a listing on New York's Nasdaq stock exchange.

Today, its portfolio includes four magazines, DVDs, websites, and licensing activities.

The largest part of the lengthy judicial process has been centered on determining whether Milton is required to pay taxes in Sweden, since he has operated his company from his residence in Spain since the late 1980s, according to the newspaper.

He is now required to pay the original tax obligation of 675 million kronor, plus accumulated interest, bringing the total to 865 million kronor.

“If he doesn't pay, it's then up to Kronofogden to bring it in,” tax supervisor Liv Arvidsson told Aftonbladet, referring to Sweden's national debt collection agency.

Milton's attorney, Börje Leidhammar, plans to formally appeal the ruling later in the spring and expects a new round of oral arguments in front of the appeals court sometime in 2010.

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