Great news: if you’re #HeForShe compliant, you can have an offshore company
The Times: Emma Watson used an offshore company in a Caribbean tax haven to buy a £2.8 million home in London, the Panama papers reveal.
The actress, 26, who made her name in Harry Potter and has become a United Nations goodwill ambassador and campaigner for women’s rights, bought the three-bedroom mews house in 2013. It was purchased through Falling Leaves Ltd, an entity set up in the British Virgin Islands by the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca a month earlier.
Through money invested in the company, 26-year-old Miss Watson was able to buy a three-bedroom mews property in the capital in 2013. Owning property through an offshore company is not illegal and does offer privacy advantages since the buyer’s name does not appear on publicly available Land Registry documents. However, it can also offer beneficial tax arrangements. A spokesman confirmed the actress, who has been a target for stalkers, had set up an offshore company but insisted it was to protect ‘her anonymity and personal safety’ and said she received no tax or financial advantage as a result.
Look, I know what this looks like, you cynical bastard. You’re going to say this is just one more soap-box celebrity who spends most of her life in five-star hotels and lear-jets on the UN’s dime while sheltering their assets in corporate structures and offshore tax havens so they can avoid paying any one of the taxes that her ticket-buying fans or #HeForShe evaders do.
But her highly paid PR firm, Markham, Froggatt and Irwin, have stated that’s clearly not the case. They’re unequivocal that it’s about her desire for privacy, obviously aside of being photographed daily on red carpets, attending any UN-related door opening, meeting Broadway producers at The Plaza, or just running her feminist book club.
Markham, Froggatt and Irwin are clear that’s the most natural thing in the world when you purchase a residence in your home city to seek to have a new company formed in the Virgin Islands by a Panamanian law firm to purchase it for you. Perfectly natural. They’ve also tossed in something about stalkers, which Emma will soon use to raise more awareness for #HeForShe: “Stop stalkers causing tax evasion for young women”.
To be clear: there’s no tax advantages possibly available, and literally no other way to protect yourself from stalkers other than forming a Virgin Islands company with the most notorious tax avoidance law firm on the planet to purchase property for you. None.
So stop being so cynical.