Arctic Monkeys, George Michael, Katie Melua revealed as investors in £1.2bn tax avoidance scheme

Sir Michael Caine is also claimed to be part of Liberty tax strategy

All four members of Arctic Monkeys and George Michael are among a number of public figures revealed to have invested in Britain’s latest high-profile tax avoidance schemes.

Investors in the Liberty tax strategy revealed today (July 9) by The Times include the Sheffield band as well as singer Katie Melua and actor Sir Michael Caine. Arctic Monkeys are reported to have each paid between £38,000 and £84,000 in fees to Liberty to protect £557,000 to £1.1m between 2005 and 2009. The band declined to comment when approached by the newspaper.

A secret database of members was leaked to The Times by sources concerned at Liberty’s manipulation of Britain’s tax code. Those involved with Liberty form an offshore partnership and invest money to shelter.

George Michael, meanwhile, is another of the musicians claimed to have paid money into Liberty during the same period. The tax strategy sees investors generate huge artificial “losses” offshore, which members can then use to avoid tax on other income. Schemes of this nature are not illegal, but have been condemned in the past by the Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne.

It’s reported that Michael sought to shelter £6.2m in record and tour sales after paying £443,000 in fees to Leeds based company, Mercury Tax Group.

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.

Speaking in a 2008 interview, she said: “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.” These comments led the singer to be nominated for Christian Aid’s Tax Superhero award in 2010. Melua’s lawyers state that she repaid the sheltered tax to HMRC.

In addition to musicians, actors and Premier League footballers, The Times report also reveals that a number of senior businessmen, doctors, dentists and lawyers signed up to the scheme, which saw £1.2bn sheltered by 1,600 people in total.

Arctic Monkeys play London’s Finsbury Park: in photos