Sigur Rós’s agent Dean O’Connor has spoken out about the band’s treatment in Iceland in the aftermath of their tax evasion scandal, RÚV reported yesterday afternoon.
He said that the band have never felt that their contribution has been valued in Iceland, adding that “they [Sigur Rós] have done so much to promote the country for the last twenty years, everyone can see that. I don’t think the authorities would push so hard if they could appreciate what the group has done.”
This was stated in an interview with Dean O’Connor, published on the Music Business Worldwide website. Here, he emphasised that Sigur Rós’s band members have fully cooperated with the RSK investigation and have already paid back 150% of what they owed the Icelandic government in tax. However, if they are found guilty of gross negligence over their taxes, this bill could be multiplied by another 200% or more, in which case their agent says “the boys would lose their homes.”
Dean O’Connor feels that the punishment for Sigur Rós is more about the Icelandic government making an example than anything else. “[The Icelandic government] obviously want to make an example of Sigur Rós — if we can catch these guys doing things wrong, then everybody else should be warned. It’s very aggressive; when you look at the sheer scale of the fines you’re talking about, they seem so arbitrary, so out of sync with what the [band have] actually done,” he said.
He pins the blame entirely on the band’s former accountant and the fact that none of the professionals working around the band spoke Icelandic. “There lies the crux — we were dealing with an accountant that probably didn’t understand everything he needed to understand, plus I’m convinced he was dealing with his own sets of issues at the time.”
However, he feels that the likelihood of the band being found guilty of gross negligence is “very high”, unless the system is changed from within between now and January. The double-jeopardy tax prosecution is under scrutiny in Iceland after questions have been raised about its fairness, but as the system is yet to change, cases such as Sigur Rós’s are still being pursued.
The Grapevine last reported on this case a month ago, when bassist Georg Holm complained that although the band did something wrong, they were now “being taken to court for the same thing again.”
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