Fraud Expert Reckons Emma Watson’s Panama Papers Link Might Not Be Sketch

It’s been about a month since the absolutely humungous data leak known as the Panama Papers threw the world into a tizzy. 

Terabytes of data secreted out of Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca detail ownership details of secretive off-shore companies and some sometimes-shady deeds they do.

Notably, British PM David Cameron was stung for his involvement, with claims he personally avoided paying tax thanks to the operations of an off-shore company. Oh, our ol’ mate Malc is in there, too. 

While you’d (sadly) expect pollies and business people to be embroiled in this book-cooking, more and more names outside of those spheres have also emerged. 
Living legend footballer – and naughty, naughty tax dodger – Lionel Messi has been implicated, along with Jackie Chan, Simon Cowell, and most recently – everybody gasp now – Emma Watson. 

Yes. Living paragon of virtue Emma Watson was first linked to this whole mess this week, when it was discovered she’s a beneficiary of a company set up in the British Virgin Islands.

Now, an expert on the nefarious world of srs fraud has weighed in on her involvement. Speaking to The Independent, former sketch-buster Gavin Cunningham of the aptly titled Serious Fraud Office said Watson’s involvement kinda makes sense. 

And it ain’t just ’cause she’s a multi-millionaire. It’s because she’s a famous multi-millionaire. Regulations in the UK mean it’s not too difficult to find out the personal deets of anyone involved with a publicly listed company.

If you’re a regular pleb, you might not have to worry about randos rocking up to your pad or taking advantage of your financial dealings after snooping around some files. If you’re Emma Watson, that’s the kinda deal you want to stamp right the fuck out. 

Cunningham said “it is likely that Emma Watson was aiming to avoid the very financial scrutiny that this discovery has prompted, and it’s worth reiterating that her actions are completely legal.

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. 

Any earnings gained or the value of any assets would be available to view”. 
In fact, the usage of such companies is so truly legal, the database her name was plucked from comes with this disclaimer:

Cunningham went as far to say that new rules in the UK might make it even more beneficial for celebs to stash their cash elsewhere, not for tax-avoidance purposes, but just to keep their affairs away from absolute nosey parkers. 

“In light of the new… registration legislation introduced in April, it’s quite possible that more individuals, as well as celebrities, examine the merits of setting up an offshore company.

If so, this might be considered ironic given that the legislation was designed to provide greater transparency.”
Of course, it’d be naive to assume the hands of everyone involved are truly clean – but it’s nice to know your faves might not be involved in severe international tax-avoidance schemes. 

Source: The Independent. 
Photo: Juan Naharro Gimenez / Getty.