On Sunday, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists published a sweeping investigation of offshore financial institutions. The Pandora Papers found that hundreds of wealthy individuals had started offshore companies – including superstar DJ trio Swedish House Mafia.
The disclosures resulted from the analysis of almost 12 million documents by a team of 600 journalists from 117 countries. Swedish broadcaster SVT found that one entity, SHM Holdings Ltd., was founded in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) in 2009 by the EDM group.
The trio comprised of Steve Angello, Axwell and Sebastian Ingrosso formed SHM Holdings on the island of Nevis with the help of the firm Marsham LLC. Among other things, the company reportedly claimed the rights to hit singles like “Save the World” and “Don’t You Worry Child,” and it remained active as 2017.
A spokesperson on behalf of Swedish House Mafia told SVT that the entity was dissolved in 2013, however. “[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,” they said, adding that “the purpose of the company was not to evade tax.”
Wealthy individuals may hold assets in offshore companies in order to evade taxes and other regulations, sometimes illegally or unethically. In other instances, the entities serve a completely benign purpose. It remains unclear whether Swedish House Mafia’s offshore activities fall into the former or latter category.
The Pandora Papers also name 336 politicians and public figures as well as entertainment celebrities like Ringo Starr, Claudia Schiffer and Shakira. According to a 2020 study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris, at least $11.3 trillion is held in offshore companies.
It remains to be seen whether further analysis of the Pandora Papers will find additional electronic music personalities involved in offshore financial operations.