Mrs Brown's Boys stars 'diverted £2m in offshore tax dodge', Paradise Papers show

The scheme is similar to one once used by Jimmy Carr

Jack Shepherd
Monday 06 November 2017 14:11
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Queen's offshore tax investments exposed in leaked Paradise Papers

Three actors from the BBC sitcom Mrs Brown's Boys reportedly diverted more than £2 million through an offshore tax-avoidance scheme.

Documents from the Paradise Papers reveal Patrick Houlihan, Martin Delany, and Fiona Delany transferred money into Mauritius-based companies, having the fees sent back as loans.

According to the BBC, the accountant behind a similar tax avoidance measure used by Jimmy Carr, Roy Lyness, put the three actors in touch with advisers behind the set-up.

HMRC investigated the scheme Carr used, which — while not illegal — was called "morally wrong" by then Prime-Minister David Cameron. After the initial revelations, Carr delivered an apology and withdrew from the scheme.

Houlihan, who plays Dermot on the show, has spoken out about the scheme, admitting he did not fully understand what was going on.

“You never knew what the f**k was going on,” the actor told the Irish Times, adding how he was worried the arrangement seemed similar to the one Carr used.

The leaked documents reveal the three Mrs Brown's Boys stars placed their fees from the show into a company they controlled based in Maritius, all aided by the offshore law firm Appleby.

The production company who pay the actors, itself owned by Brendan O'Carroll — the creator and star of the BBC show and Fiona Delany's father — says they are not involved in any tax avoidance scheme and paid the actors' wages directly into a UK company bank account.

Neither Fiona Delany or husband and co-star Martin Delany have commented on the revelations.

The Paradise Papers — 1.4 terabytes of documents — come from the company registries of 19 tax havens and two offshore service providers. The leak took place less than two years after the Panama Papers scandal, which caused uproar after revealing how dozens of well-known figures hid their wealth in offshore funds.

The Queen's private estate, Tory donor Lord Michael Ashcroft, Cabinet members, U2 singer Bono, and one of Donald Trump's closest advisors were among those to have their offshore investments revealed in the Paradise Papers, which is the second-biggest data leak in history.

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