The young heartthrob of millions of Harry Potter fans, Emma Watson’s name has been revealed in an undisclosed off-shore account in the biggest data leaks in history from the Panama Papers. The 26 year old British actress is among several hundreds of celebrities and socialites whose names have been revealed in off shore accounts. It is important to state that as it is, the off-shore accounts do not necessarily mean it is illegal or is a tactic for tax evasion; that remains for the law to decide.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) recently revealed data on more than 200,000 entities. The database contains information on companies, trusts and foundations and users can see networks involving the offshore companies, complete with a map to track and searchable names/ nation-wise archive.
Emma Watson’s database confirmed the actress’s account but stated that it was neither illegal nor for tax evasion. Instead, it was used merely to “protect her privacy”. The spokesperson said that, “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 law firm Mossack Fonseca, from which Panama Papers were taken from maintains it observed rules requiring it to identify its clients.
However, internet communities, especially fans, have been outraged over the disclosure and refuse to buy the official statement. Privacy leaks from bank accounts or asset details that actually jeopardize anyone’s personal safety are less than common for celebrities, which is why a majority of millionaires that legitimately follow their asset trail do not have offshore accounts (that we know of). Further legal implications are pending as to check the paper trail of the said offshore account. The news is a further shocker because Emma’s stance on social issues is very widely known, including her being voted UN Women Goodwill Ambassador and helping launch the UN Women campaign HeForShe, which calls for men to advocate gender equality.
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