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May 12, 2016

Emma named in offshore data release


May 12, 2016

Panama Papers

Emma Watson used an offshore company leaked by the Panama Papers to purchase a multi-million pound property.

The actress, currently taking a break from acting to campaign for feminism, bought a London home in 2013 a month after setting up an entity called Falling Leaves in the British Virgin Islands.

But Watson denied any suggestion of tax avoidance, saying 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.”

The spokesman was unavailable for comment on Tuesday night relating specifically to the property deal.

Her account came to light after data collated by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) was published online for the first time.

“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. “Offshore companies do not publish these shareholder details.”

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 of Beauty 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 for 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 of the suffragettes in Parliament Square.

In other Panama Papers revelations yesterday, 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 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.

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