Christian Aid disowns singer Katie Melua after tax-avoidance revelations

The singer was nominated by Christian Aid for a "tax superhero" award but has been exposed for investing £850,000 in a tax-avoidance scheme

Katie Melua
Katie Melua

Christian Aid has criticised the singer Katie Melua, whom it nominated for a "tax superhero" award in 2010, after it emerged that she had participated in an aggressive tax-avoidance scheme.

The Times newspaper reported that Melua was among several famous names that had taken part in a tax-avoidance scheme called Liberty.

It said that Melua had invested £850,000 in the scheme, which ran between 2005 and 2009.

Melua was nominated for a "tax superhero" award by Christian Aid in 2010 after she said in an interview: "I pay nearly half of what comes to me in taxes, but I know I'm paying to live in a country with lots of amazing qualities.

"I have seen what it is like living in a country where people don't pay tax and have poor services in terms of health and education."

Christian Aid’s tax superhero award was launched in 2009 in order to draw attention to its campaign about the importance of tax for developing countries.

The charity nominated several famous names for the award in 2010, which was won by the politician and former French judge Eva Joly.

In a statement yesterday, Joseph Stead, senior economic justice adviser at Christian Aid, said the news about Melua was disappointing. "We have campaigned against tax dodging for a number of years because of the way individuals and multinationals use tax avoidance to deprive developing countries of funds needed for crucial services," he said.

"Companies, and individuals, often make the right noises about paying tax, but don’t live up to them; this is why we have been campaigning for greater transparency on tax.

"To be frank, finding celebrities we could use as examples to endorse our tax campaign was an uphill struggle because we have no idea about the tax status of most. Katie, however, seemed ideal because of her public pronouncements on the subject."

The Times reported that Melua’s lawyers said she had paid her tax liability in full once HM Revenue & Customs challenged the scheme.

Andy Ricketts

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