Katie Melua labelled ‘fallen hero’ by Christian Aid over involvement in tax avoidance scheme

Singer was nominated for Christian Aid's Tax Superhero award in 2010

Katie Melua has been labelled a “fallen hero” by Christian Aid over her role in the Liberty tax avoidance scheme.

As reported earlier this week, Melua was revealed alongside Arctic Monkeys and George Michael, as one of a number of high profile figures who had invested in the scheme, with over £1.2bn in earnings sheltered by 1,600 people in total.

Katie Melua is reported to have sheltered £850,000 through Liberty in 2008. Melua, who grew up in Georgia, previously claimed that she had turned down the opportunity to use her dual nationality to avoid tax. These comments led the singer to be nominated for Christian Aid’s Tax Superhero award in 2010.

However, the charity has offered an angry riposte to Melua’s actions with Joseph Stead, senior economic justice adviser at Christian Aid, stating: “The news is very disappointing. Christian Aid believes it’s morally wrong for people to avoid paying their fair share of tax, because it undermines vital public services such as hospitals and schools and forces up taxes on people who are too poor or too honest to use such schemes.

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

A statement published on Katie Melua’s website following the reports into Liberty earlier this week sees the singer-songwriter distancing herself from the scheme and claiming that, “When the Liberty scheme was presented to me it was not presented as ‘an aggressive tax avoidance scheme.’ It was presented as an ‘investment scheme’ that had the potential to legally reduce yearly income tax. Totally legal and legit and my accountants and advisors would take care to complete the formalities which included dealing with HMRC. Seemed pretty straight-forward and simple, so I signed up.”

You can read the full statement here.