Icelandic post-rock band Sigur Rós have been cleared of tax evasion charges, local newspaper Fréttablaðið is reporting.
The band was charged back in March, over incorrect tax filings for the period running from 2011 to 2014. Band members Jón Þór ‘Jónsi’ Birgisson and Georg ‘Goggi’ Hólm and former members Kjartan ‘Kjarri’ Sveinsson and Orri Páll Dýrason were found to have collectively evaded 151 million Icelandic króna in taxes, equivalent to around $1.8 million.
The band blamed the error on their accountant, and paid back the outstanding amounts and associated fines to the revenue service, but charges were brought against them by Reykjavík’s district attorney.
In a statement seen by Pitchfork, the band’s management said they had been cleared on “double jeopardy” grounds:
The band had already agreed to pay all outstanding historical taxes and fines to the revenue services, but were being separately pursued by the Icelandic District Attorney for further fines and sentencing relating to the same period. The band have always strenuously denied any intention or wrongdoing related to the case.
The defence’s successful move on Oct 4 to have the charges dismissed hinged upon recent European Court of Human Rights rulings on “ne bis in idem” (literally “not the same thing twice”) grounds, whereby a defendant cannot be punished more than once for the same offence.
The four members and former members had roughly $9.2 million in assets frozen while the case was underway, which just goes to show that you shouldn’t let anyone tell you that playing a guitar with a cello bow won’t make you crazy rich.
The district attorney reportedly intends to appeal the case at the Icelandic High Court later this year.