Sean Connery hits back at critics by revealing his Â£3.7m tax bill
One of the most high-profile living Scotsmen has launched a pre-emptive strike on critics who scorn his right to support political independence for a country he no longer lives in.
The actor Sean Connery, a staunch supporter of the Scottish National Party (SNP), has revealed how much tax he has paid to the Treasury in the past five years in an effort to stifle criticism of his support for nationalists during the forthcoming Holyrood elections.
Opponents of the SNP, responding to the well-publicised support from such a celebrity, have repeatedly sniped at the star's tax-exile status in the Bahamas – and before that in Marbella – claiming it undermined his commitment to the nationalist cause and made him a "false friend of Scotland".
However, with a campaign for Scottish Parliament elections beginning in the next few weeks, Sir Sean, 72, who once worked as a milkman in Edinburgh, is aware that his decision to live abroad will come under fresh scrutiny.
"I get battered with this living in Marbella, living in the Bahamas, whatever," the actor said at his Bahamas home in Lyford Cay. "I'm an easy target because of my political opinions but I defy anyone in Scotland to find one detail where I knowingly ever did anything that was to the detriment of Scotland. It gets up my nose."
In a rare interview with Scotland's Herald newspaper, the actor – most famous for his James Bond roles – handed over evidence from his lawyers to show that, despite living in the Bahamas, he had paid more than £3.7m in tax to the UK Treasury since 1997, considerably more than the majority of his critics.
In addition, his lawyers said, he had "been either personally responsible for or a major participant in a vast amount of motion picture production in the UK over that time span, which has brought literally millions and millions of pounds of capital into the country, employed hundreds if not thousands of individuals in those films and generated substantial additional tax for the UK Inland Revenue".
Sir Sean said: "Everything I've got is tax paid. I don't have any blind trusts. And I hope this erases some of the cynicism about my financial affairs."
The actor, who regularly earns millions of pounds for his film roles, said: "I pay full tax wherever I am working. That's the way it works in the film industry. Since I've gone out of my way to bring film projects to the UK, instead of Hollywood, that's meant I've paid full tax here."
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