Actress Emma Watson Tuesday denied tax evasion after she was named in the latest Panama Papers offshore data leaks. The “Harry Potter” star is reported to have used an offshore company to buy a property worth $40 million in London.
Watson’s account was revealed after data collated by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) was published online for the first time. Over 200,000 offshore account details from Mossack Fonseca, the Panamanian law firm at the center of the leak, have now been available.
The Panama Papers reveal that Watson is a beneficiary of a company based in the British Virgin Islands. According to Watson’s representatives, the actress set up the offshore account for the sole purpose of “protecting her anonymity and safety.”
“Emma receives absolutely no tax or monetary advantages from this offshore company whatsoever, only privacy. ... U.K. companies are required to publicly publish details of their shareholders and therefore do not give her the necessary anonymity required to protect her personal safety, which has been jeopardized in the past owing to such information being publicly available. Offshore companies do not publish these shareholder details," Watson’s spokesman said in a statement.
Last month’s leaked trove of over 11.5 million documents exposed tax details of several clients, including close aides of Russian President Vladimir Putin, relatives of Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Iceland's Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, soccer star Lionel Messi as well as dealings by the late father of British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Several people from the entertainment industry were named in the Panama Papers. Oscar-winning Spanish film director Pedro Almodóvar, martial-arts star Jackie Chan, and Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan were among those who were initially named in the leak. Following this, names of other U.K. celebrities, including Simon Cowell, the Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson and Paul McCartney’s ex-wife Heather Mills also showed up in the Panama Papers.