In April, the largest financial data leak in history revealed how the rich and powerful use offshore tax havens to hide their wealth.
The likes of David Cameron’s father and those involved in Vladimir Putin’s inner circle were named – and now Emma Watson has been, too.
The 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 Independent reports.
But Emma Watson says she has a good reason for being named in the leak.
Watson’s spokesperson confirmed the 26-year-old had set up an offshore company, but she doesn’t receive any tax or monetary advantages from it. Instead, the spokesperson said she uses it for privacy purposes.
Her spokesperson said in a statement:
Emma (like many high profile individuals) set up an offshore company for the sole purpose of protecting her anonymity and safety.
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Offshore companies do not publish these shareholder details.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 in itself is not illegal, and The Panama Papers were taken from law firm Mossack Fonseca, which observed rules requiring it to identify its clients – hence the leak in names.
Most people named in the leak were using offshore accounts for tax evasion, but considering the actress claims she isn’t using her account for profitable gain, she’s not breaking any rules.
So don’t worry, her rep is still squeaky clean.