Published May 11, 2016
What would Hermione Granger say?
Actress Emma Watson has been named in the so-called "Panama Papers" as having used a company based in a Caribbean tax haven to handle her money, it was revealed Tuesday.
The 26-year-old, who is taking a break from acting to work as a United Nations goodwill ambassador and women's rights campaigner, is a shareholder in one of approximately 200,000 offshore corporations whose information was published online Monday by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
Being named as a shareholder in an offshore company does not prove any wrongdoing on Watson's part. However, the ICIJ has published a number of stories detailing how world leaders, celebrities and businesses use such entities to hide money from tax authorities in their home countries.
Watson's presence in the database was first reported by the British magazine The Spectator. The Times of London reported that Watson used the company, Falling Leaves Ltd., in 2013 to purchase a home in the British capital worth approximately 2.8 million pounds ($4 million).
A spokesman for Watson confirmed to The Spectator that the "Harry Potter" star had set up an offshore company, but insisted that she did so "for the sole purpose of protecting her anonymity and safety."
"U.K. companies are required to publicly publish details of their shareholders and therefore do not give [Watson] the necessary anonymity required to protect her personal safety, which has been jeopardised in the past owing to such information being publicly available," the spokesman said. "Emma receives absolutely no tax or monetary advantages from this offshore company whatsoever."
Other boldface names mentioned in the Panama Papers include actor Jackie Chan, soccer star Lionel Messi and Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.