Swedish House Mafia cited in the Pandora Papers for offshore company

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swedish house mafia ultra 2018

Swedish House Mafia, the legendary Swedish electronic dance trio, owned an offshore company in the British Virgin Islands, the Pandora Papers reveals. The company, according to Swedish news outlet SVT, held ownership to the band’s name, logo, and music tracks, including “Don’t You Worry Child.

What are the Pandora Papers?

The Pandora Papers is a leak of nearly 12 million documents (the biggest of its genre yet) and files that reveal world leaders’, politicians’, and billionaires’ (including artists) hidden wealth and dealings. The data was obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) in Washington, DC, and has resulted in one of the most comprehensive global investigations ever conducted. Over 600 journalists from 117 countries investigated the hidden fortunes of some of the world’s most powerful people.

The documents come from 14 offshore services firms around the world that set up shell companies and other offshore nooks for clients who wanted to hide their financial activities.

What does “offshore” mean?

The Pandora Papers reveal complex cross-border networks of companies, which often result in hidden ownership of money and assets.

These are the countries or territories off the coast of the United States where:

  • It’s simple to start a business.
  • There are laws that make it difficult to identify the owners of businesses, and corporation taxes are low or non-existent.
  • The locations are frequently referred to as tax havens or secrecy jurisdictions. Although there is no definitive list of tax havens, the most well-known include British Overseas Territories like the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands, as well as Switzerland and Singapore.

Is it legal?

There’s no real answer to this question: it depends on various factors. There are loopholes in the law that let people legally avoid paying some taxes by moving their money or forming companies in tax havens, but this is arguably seen as unethical.

There are also a variety of legitimate reasons why people might want to keep their money and assets in different countries, such as to protect themselves from criminal attacks or to avoid governments that are unstable.

Although it is not illegal to have secret offshore assets, using a complex network of secret companies to move money and assets is the ideal way to conceal criminal proceeds.

Swedish House Mafia and the Pandora Papers.

Among important politics and personalities, also the most famous Swedish trio appeared on the Pandora Papers. As reported by the Swedish news outlet, SVT, the same year of the release of their world’s hit, Leave the World Behind, 2019, a wealth adviser in Switzerland founded SHM Holdings Ltd. in the British Virgin Islands. The company was original to be called Swedish House Mafia LTD but “the word ‘mafia’ is not acceptable for use in a company name“, writes the Swedish Companies Registration Office in the British Virgin Islands. The company was still in operation as late as 2017 as in the same year, the British Virgin Islands want to know who the actual owners were. Documents show that the wealth adviser answered in an email: Axel Christoffer Hedfors, Sebastian C. Ingrosso, Steve A. Josefsson.

According to SVT, the management of the rights to many of the most famous songs, such as “Don’t You Worry Child” and “Save The World“, can be linked to the mailbox company SHM Holdings Ltd. But how much money landed in the tax haven in the British Virgin Islands is not clear from the documents in the leak.

On a request to comment by SVT to Swedish House Mafia, a spokesperson of the trio says that “[There were] question marks as to whether the construction could be perceived as a way of, so to speak, concealing assets, which could be to the detriment of the SHM brand“. The spokesperson added the company probably never withdrew any money and that “the purpose of the company was not to evade tax.