LONDON, May 11 — Emma Watson is the latest celebrity to be caught up in the Panama Papers scandal.
She is said to have interests in a firm based in the British Virgin Islands called Falling Leaves Ltd.
Yesterday, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists made 200,000 entities available on its website.
The data was obtained from Panamanian law firm Mossack Foneca, which said it was hacked.
Her spokesman told the Spectator, however, that the Harry Potter actress used it for privacy and not to avoid tax.
The magazine quoted the representative as saying, “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“Offshore companies do not publish these shareholder details.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.”
As with many of Fonseca’s clients, there is no evidence that Watson used the company for improper purposes.
Setting up an offshore company is not by itself illegal or evidence of illegal conduct.
But anti-poverty campaigners say shell companies can be used by the wealthy and powerful to shield money from taxation, or to launder the gains from bribery, embezzlement and other forms of corruption.
The stash of records was obtained from an anonymous source by German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung and shared with media worldwide. The documents, from around 214,000 offshore entities, cover almost 40 years. – MMO