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11 May, 2016 09:44

Chamber of Secrets? Harry Potter actress Emma Watson named in Panama Papers

Chamber of Secrets? Harry Potter actress Emma Watson named in Panama Papers

Millionaire Harry Potter actress and self-styled champion of social and feminist causes Emma Watson has an offshore company of the type used to dodge tax, the Panama Papers show.

Despite a robust defense put up by a spokesperson for Watson on Tuesday, the revelations appear to cast serious doubt on her credentials as a celebrity activist and humanitarian cause celebre of the hyper-wealthy liberal left.

Her position may not be helped by the fact Watson recently attended Obama’s glitzy White House Correspondent’s dinner in Washington and called for new London Mayor Sadiq Khan to put up a statue of a suffragette.

The damning details were first exposed by the Spectator Magazine’s Steerpike column, when journalists discovered in the Offshore Leaks Database that one ‘Emma Charlotte Duerre Watson’ is the beneficiary of an offshore company in the British Virgin Islands.

A spokesperson for Watson claimed that the offshore was used because of security concerns rather than to gain financial advantages.

“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 jeopardized in the past owing to such information being publicly available,” the representative said.

“Emma receives absolutely no tax or monetary advantages from this offshore company whatsoever – only privacy,” the spokesperson added.

Fans of Watson will be hoping this is true, given the egregious impacts of tax evasion on women around the world.

The Women for Tax Justice campaign group argued in 2015 for proper regulation on the basis that “both powerful corporations and wealthy individuals put pressure on States to reduce their own tax burden in the name of 'efficiency' and “competition.'"

This, they say, helps to “perpetuate a global system in which international financial flows, massive profits and huge personal fortunes are allowed to escape tax.”

They argued that national and international tax rules “entrench patriarchal power structures in the economy, in public life, and in the home – making women’s full economic equality a mirage under the current tax status quo.”