Emma Watson at The Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Benefit Gala. Photo / AP
Emma Watson denied avoiding tax after becoming the latest high-profile name listed in the Panama Papers offshore data leak.
The actress, currently taking a break from acting to campaign for feminism, is listed as a beneficiary of a company based in the British
But Watson said the account was set up for the sole purpose of “protecting her anonymity and safety”.
A spokesman for the 26-year-old Harry Potter star said: “Emma receives absolutely no tax or monetary advantages from this offshore company whatsoever, only privacy.”
Her account came to light after data collated by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) was published online for the first time.
More than 200,000 offshore account details from Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian law firm, are now available.
“Offshore companies do not publish these shareholder details.””UK
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 jeopardised in the past owing to such information being publicly available,” Watson’s spokesman said.
Other famous names listed in the papers include the Duchess of York, The X Factor’s Simon Cowell and Paul Burrell, the former butler to the late Diana, Princess of Wales.
Watson, who is worth £35 million, according to the Sunday Times, appears in two films this year, alongside Tom Hanks in The Circle, and in a new Disney version ofBeauty and the Beast.
But the actress, who played Hermione Granger in the Potter films, said in February that she wanted to spend a year reading literature and developing HeForShe, a UN initiative to boost gender equality.
Yesterday she was among signatures on an open letter on the Telegraph website urging Sadiq Khan, the new London Mayor, to erect a statue in memory of the suffragettes in Parliament Square.
In other Panama Papers revelations, it emerged that BP signed a multimillion-dollar contract for work in Iraq in 2014 with Unaoil, a firm that had been linked to corruption allegations there.
BP confirmed it had hired Unaoil for engineering services.
Other figures who have previously come under scrutiny include British Prime Minister David Cameron, President Vladimir Putin of Russia, and Lionel Messi the footballer. Iceland’s Prime Minister Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson resigned after being named in the papers.
he Harry Potter actress’s name was found by The Spectator in a searchable database containing more details about the Panama Papers tax avoidance scandal.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) published data on more than 200,000 entities on its website on Monday evening. The database contains information on companies, trusts and foundations and users can see networks involving the offshore companies. Watson’s spokesperson confirmed the 26-year-old had set up an offshore company. However, the spokesperson said she does not receive any tax or monetary advantages whatsoever. Instead, the spokesperson said she uses it for privacy purposes.
“Emma (like many high profile individuals) set up an offshore company for the sole purpose of protecting her anonymity and safety,” her spokesperson said in a statement. “UK 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 jeopardised in the past owing to such information being publicly available.
“Offshore companies do not publish these shareholder details. Emma receives absolutely no tax or monetary advantages from this offshore company whatsoever – only privacy.” Setting up an offshore company is not by itself illegal or evidence of illegal conduct. The Panama Papers were taken from law firm Mossack Fonseca, which maintains it observed rules requiring it to identify its clients.
A number of past and present world leaders were named in the first leak as having offshore holdings. The database is the largest ever trove of data about offshore companies to be made publicly available.
The database does not include anything that could compromise the privacy of individuals named such as records of bank accounts or email exchanges.