Elton John, Ringo Starr, and Shakira were named in a new leak of private financial documents, known as the Pandora Papers, that offer a glimpse at the tangled web of offshore accounting and alleged tax avoidance schemes used by some of the world’s wealthiest and most powerful people.
The Pandora Papers were published over the weekend by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which was also behind a similar document dump known as the Panama Papers (the Panama Papers also included some big celebrity names, including Jackie Chan and Bono). While much of the documents explore the dealings of billionaires and world leaders — including Jordan’s King Abdullah II, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and the presidents of Ukraine, Kenya, and Ecuador — notable celebrities popped up as well, including the aforementioned three, supermodel Claudia Schiffer and Spanish singer Julio Iglesias.
Full documents regarding the dealings of these celebrities were not immediately available, and none were accused of any wrongdoing or of violating any laws (there are legitimate reasons for opening and using offshore companies). One ICIJ story notes that John, as well as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, are clients of the London-based law offices of Tulloch & Co., which has allegedly helped secure the assets of the super-rich in Russia. Per The Hollywood Reporter, Shakira, John, Starr, and Schiffer have all set up PO box companies in tax havens like the British Virgin Islands, Panama, or the Bahamas.
A representative for Shakira shared a statement with Rolling Stone saying the singer’s companies referred to in the Pandora Papers were properly declared to Spanish tax authorities and are “fully transparent companies.” It continued: “At the time, they were set up for a specific operational purpose. Today they have no income or activity whatsoever and, in fact, they are in the process of being liquidated.” (Coincidentally, Monday, October 4th, a court in Spain ruled in Shakira’s favor in a tax lawsuit regarding a series of surcharges that the Spanish Tax Agency “incorrectly collected.” The statement read: “In view of the disagreement with the collection, Shakira’s defense filed a supplementary declaration that has been resolved by the courts, ruling in her favor and requiring the Tax Agency to return the amounts that she was forced to pay unfairly.”)
Representatives for Starr and John did not immediately return Rolling Stone’s requests for comment. A rep for Schiffer, meanwhile, told the ICIJ that she correctly pays her taxes in the U.K.