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How Emma Watson became the famous face of the scandalous Panama Papers

emma watson panama papers

Emma Watson. (UN Women Gallery/Flickr)

Emma Watson--everyone's favorite "Harry Potter" witch and gender equality advocate--has been named in the controversial Panama Papers data leak. The database lists her as the beneficiary for an offshore company called "Falling Leaves Ltd." in the British Virgin Islands.

The Panama Papers are basically a compilation of leaked files from an international law firm called Mossack Fonseca. The files show the international finances of everyone form billionaires and celebrities, to drug traffickers and politicians who have hidden their money in legal-but-shadowy "offshore" accounts. In other words, it shows hidden wealth of the rich and the powerful.

The British Virgin Islands (and Panama) are tax havens: places to hold your money without having to pay your country's taxes on it. Meaning individuals and companies can put their money there and usually avoid paying taxes and revealing their financial info to their own countries.

Does this mean Emma Watson is involved with something dirty?

Not necessarily. A rep for Watson was quick to defend her. They argue Watson only set up the company to get some privacy, not to evade taxes:

"Offshore companies do not publish these shareholder details. Emma receives absolutely no tax or monetary advantages from this offshore company whatsoever—only privacy."

Watson is not the first celeb to appear in the Panama Papers either. Simon Cowell, Jackie Chan, Sarah Ferguson, and even world leaders like Russian Prez Vladimir Putin, the UK's David Cameron, and Iceland's PM Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson also store their wealth overseas. (Well, he got pushed out of office for it.) Shady or not, it's legal.

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How  Emma Watson became the famous face of the scandalous Panama Papers

Christina Buff

Christina is a freelance writer from a tiny town in Southern Maryland who just can't seem to figure out whether others are being sarcastic or not. She has a degree in business communication, with a focus in writing, from Stevenson University, and has written things for Severna Park Voice, Maryland Film Festival, The Villager, and Hello Giggles. Follow her on twitter @tinaBUFF where she constantly overthinks her tweets, or read her medley of musings at touchinfinity.wordpress.com.

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