Emma Watson need not rely on wizardry or witchcraft to ensure her taxes remain low—all that’s necessary is the right law firm.
The Panama Papers database—from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists—reveals the movie star and prominent activist is connected to an offshore holding company set up by law firm Mossack Fonseca, the Spectator first reported. Searching the database for “Emma Charlotte Duerre Watson” lists her as the beneficiary of a company called Falling Leaves Ltd., which is under the jurisdiction of the British Virgin Islands and has an address in the nation of Georgia.
In the following statement given to the Spectator, a spokesperson for Watson confirmed her connection with the offshore holding company, and argued it was to protect the star’s “safety and anonymity.”
“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Offshore companies do not publish these shareholder details.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.”
Watson is hardly the first celebrity to store her wealth overseas. Other celebrities implicated in the Panama Papers leaks include music mogul David Geffen, TV personality Simon Cowell, singer Fergie, athlete Lionel Messi, and filmmaker Pedro Almodovar. But the star’s penchant for activism nevertheless make her involvement in offshore holding schemes surprising. Then again, that hasn’t stopped Bono, the quintessential celebrity-cum-humanitarian, from storing some of his wealth in an overseas shell company.