If only there were some sort of magic spell to erase names.
British actress Emma Watson, who played Hermione in the beloved Harry Potter movies, has popped up in the Panama Papers after she set up an offshore company. (Many people whose names appear in the Panama Papers are avoiding paying taxes, but just because your name is there doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve done anything illegal.)
U.K. publication The Spectator was the first to discover her name in the searchable database, which was published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) on Monday. Featuring more than 200,000 entries, the database holds information on companies, foundations and trusts, including those individuals who have offshore companies.
Watson, 26, falls under this category, but her spokesperson claims that she doesn’t use the offshore company for tax or monetary purposes, but instead for “privacy.”
“Emma, like many high-profile individuals, set up an offshore company for the sole purpose of protecting her anonymity and safety,” her spokesperson said in a statement.
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“U.K. 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 spokesperson continued. “Offshore companies do not publish these shareholder details. Emma receives absolutely no tax or monetary advantages from this offshore company whatsoever — only privacy.”
The Offshore Leaks Database lists “Emma Charlotte Duerre Watson” as a beneficiary in an offshore company based in the British Virgin Islands.
The act of setting up an offshore company is not illegal or proof that the company owner or beneficiary is involved in criminal dealings.
The Panama Papers contain basic corporate information set up in 21 jurisdictions including Hong Kong and the U.S. state of Nevada. The data was obtained from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, which said it was hacked.
You can search for people and entities connected to Canada here.
The consortium estimates there are 1,352 corporate “officers” linked to Canada in the documents. We don’t know their nationalities, and these are a combination of corporations and individuals. There are also 912 offshore entities, 242 “intermediaries” and 1,312 addresses linked to Canada.
Please note, this data is compiled by the ICIJ and has not been independently verified by Global News. There are legitimate uses for offshore companies and trusts and there’s no indication anyone in this database broke the law. Also note, there are sometimes multiple companies or individuals with the same name, and those listed here should be verified independently.
With files from The Associated Press