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Emma Watson set up an offshore company named in the Panama Papers and used it to buy a £2.8million London home, it was claimed last night.

The Harry Potter star, who earned £20million playing Hermione Granger in the series of blockbuster films, purchased the property through Falling Leaves Ltd, a company based in the British Virgin Islands.

Through money invested in the company, 26-year-old Miss Watson was able to buy a three-bedroom mews property in the capital in 2013, The Times reported.

Owning property through an offshore company is not illegal and does offer privacy advantages since the buyer’s name does not appear on publicly available Land Registry documents.

However, it can also offer beneficial tax arrangements.

A spokesman confirmed the actress, who has been a target for stalkers, had set up an offshore company but insisted it was to protect ‘her anonymity and personal safety’ and said she received no tax or financial advantage as a result.

He told The Spectator magazine: ‘Emma (like many high profile individuals) set up an offshore company for the sole purpose of protecting her anonymity and safety. UK companies are required to publicly publish details of their shareholders and therefore do not give her the necessary anonymity required to protect her personal safety, which has been jeopardised in the past owing to such information being publicly available.

‘Offshore companies do not publish these shareholder details.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

The firm, set up in 2013, was named in a database of 200,000 shell companies and trusts, held in more than 20 tax havens around the world, published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

The latest files to be released contain basic corporate information about companies, trusts and foundations set up in 21 jurisdictions including Hong Kong and the U.S. state of Nevada.

Much of the data came from the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca, which set up many of the companies – including the offshore company run by the Prime Minister’s late father Ian Cameron.

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