Sunday 25 March 2018

Panama Papers: Emma Watson named in latest offshore data release

Emma Watson
Emma Watson

Tom Morgan

Emma Watson, the Harry Potter star, has been forced to deny avoiding tax after becoming the latest high-profile name listed in the Panama Papers offshore data leak.

The actress, currently on a gap year from acting to campaign for feminism, is listed as a beneficiary of a company based in the British Virgin Islands.

However, Watson, who this week called on new London mayor Sadiq Khan to put a statue of a suffragette outside Parliament, says the account was set up for the sole purpose of "protecting her anonymity and safety".

A spokesman for the 26-year-old said: "Emma receives absolutely no tax or monetary advantages from this offshore company whatsoever - only privacy.”

Her account is believed to have been added on Tuesday after data, collated by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ),  was published online for the first time.

Watson's details are among more than 200,000 offshore account details from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca now available to the public.

The spokesman said Ms Watson had previously had her personal safety "jeopardised" by UK based companies publishing her 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," he said.

"Offshore companies do not publish these shareholder details."

Other celebrity names listed in the papers include The Duchess of York, Simon Cowell, Paul Burrell and Heather Mills.

Watson  - worth £35 million fortune, according to the Sunday Times - appears in two films this year, starring 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 film versions of JK Rowling's novels, said in February she wanted to focus on reading literature and developing HeForShe, a UN initiative to boost gender equality.

She told Paper magazine: "I'm taking a year away from acting to focus on two things, really.

"My own personal development is one. My task is to read a book a week, and also to read a book a month as part of my book club.

"I thought about doing a year of gender studies, then I realised that I was learning so much by being on the ground and just speaking with people and doing my reading, so I decided to keep on the path that I'm on. I'm reading a lot this year, and I want to do a lot of listening."

Watson's name was spotted on the Panama Papers list by Steerpike, a blogger for The Spectator.

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