SEVERAL actors from hit Irish sitcom Mrs Brown’s Boys put around £2million into an offshore tax-avoidance scheme, leaked Paradise Papers documents have revealed.
Martin Delany, who plays Fr Trevor Brown, was one of three actors who were actively paid through the scheme.
His wife Fiona O’Carroll – who is the daughter of show creator Brendan O’Carroll, and plays Maria Brown in the sitcom – was also part of the scheme.
Paddy Houlihan, who plays Dermot Brown, was the third actor named in the leaks.
Two of their co-stars, Amanda Woods – who plays Betty – and her husband Danny O’Carroll, who plays Buster, also signed up to the scheme but did not use it, according to reports.
The complicated scheme saw the actors aided by offshore law firm Appleby to utilise “trusts and cell companies based in Mauritius" to transfer their money without paying any tax on it, reports the Guardian.
Delany, O’Carroll and Houlihan then simply loaned the money back to themselves, totalling more than £1.5 million.
Mr Houlihan told The Irish Times that he thought the scheme was “totally legal”.
He added: “I was told the money went to a trust and it wasn’t mine until I received it, and I didn’t have to pay any tax until I got the money.
“I was in control of when I would pay the tax.”
Appleby has issued a statement, saying: "There is no evidence of wrongdoing either on the part of ourselves or our clients.”
But according to reports, the scheme may “fall foul of Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs Rules” despite claims to the contrary.
The face of Mrs Brown’s Boys, Brendan O'Carroll, 62, has not been named in the Paradise Papers leak.
Richard Bilton from Panorama approached his daughter Fiona over the alleged tax dodge but she refused to comment, telling the reporter: "I don't even know who you are."
Though there is nothing illegal in the revelations, they may prove awkward for the BBC and RTÉ – who have broadcast Mrs Brown’s Boys since 2011.
One of the most popular shows on British and Irish television, the sitcom has become something of a cultural phenomenon and attracted 9 million viewers for its Christmas special last year – more than the Queen’s Speech.
The naming of three of the show’s actors in the latest Paradise Papers leak comes after high-profile figures such as Bono and Queen Elizabeth II were exposed for taking part in offshore tax schemes today.