Emma Watson was one of the latest high-profile figures to be linked to the Panama Papers after her name was included in a database earlier this week.
In the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists’ database, Watson, 26, was listed as a beneficiary of a company in the British Virgin Islands.
Watson, who has had trouble with stalkers in the past, is understood to have used the company to purchase a property.
Watson’s representatives said the company was set up for privacy purposes and stressed that she does not receive any tax or monetary advantages from owning the property via an off-shore company.
“UK companies are required to publicly publish details of their shareholders and tfore 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“Offshore companies do not publish these shareholder details.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.”
Could she have anonymity in the UK? While individuals have no obligation to publish their earnings or tax return, it is now extremely difficult to keep the ownership of a UK company private.
If a celebrity carries out their professional services through a UK limited company or say, holds assets such as a house through a UK limited company, their connection to the company is now likely to be revealed.