Three actors from the show are accused of diverting £2m into an off-shore tax avoidance scheme
Mrs Brown’s Boys star Brendan O’Carroll has hit back at claims of tax avoidance levelled at his daughter and other members of the show’s cast.
Three leading actors from popular BBC sitcom reportedly avoided more than £2 million in tax after putting their earnings in an offshore scheme.
Documents from the newly-leaked Paradise Papers recently revealed how O’Carroll’s daughter Fiona Delany (who plays Maria Brown in the show), her husband Martin Delany (who plays Trevor Brown) and co-star Patrick Houlihan (Dermot Brown) transferred their fees to companies in Mauritius before sending money back as loans.
Responding to the claims, O’Carroll (who plays family matriarch Agnes Brown) has criticised BBC’s Panorama programme for “ambushing” his daughter, telling Irish Sun: “They scared the life out of her. It seems to be an effort to tarnish the show. We’ve done nothing wrong… Fiona was in tears. I spent the whole day comforting her.”
“She is not an oligarch laundering money through Greek banks, nor does she deal in the arm trade, deal drugs or traffic people,”O’Carroll continued. “She has never committed a crime in her life, she doesn’t have a private yacht or own a collection of luxury cars. She drives a Kia people carrier which is necessary if you have four toddlers.”
O’Carroll added: “No-one involved with Mrs Brown’s Boys has done anything illegal. Everybody that featured in that show did what they did for completely different reasons. Paddy and Fiona wanted to regularise their income over a period of time so they could pay tax over a longer period of time. What’s really important is that nothing they did was illegal. In the case of Fiona, Paddy, and Marty, not one penny of their BBC money went into that fund.”
“Panorama said that they are paid offshore. That’s bollocks. Their fees are paid to a UK agency called ProFid who represent them. They invoice us and we pay their fees to Profid who organise whatever they organise with them to give them their monthly salary. In my daughter Fiona’s case I know she paid £200,000 in tax last year. At the time, Fiona was ambushed by the BBC guy in Glasgow she had just done a year-long audit and had a clearance certificate. All her loans were declared.”
Asked whether he or his family intended to take legal action, O’Carroll said: “I’m not litigious. I don’t believe in fruitless litigation. We have a big family and a big crew everybody is healthy and well. We will go back to work and be fine. No-one died.”
Following O’Carroll’s criticism, a BBC News spokesperson has said: “This is investigation shows there is clear a public interest in the information being reported. It has been conducted in a fair and impartial way by our award-winning current affairs programme Panorama and BBC News journalists. A thorough and fair right of reply procedure was followed. We’re satisfied that we’ve acted fairly and followed our editorial guidelines.”
Houlihan previously responded to the claims, admitting that he was not fully aware of what the scheme entailed. He told the Irish Times: “You never knew what the fuck was going on.”