Members of the Icelandic band Sigur Ros have been charged with tax evasion, three years after local authorities launched a probe into the avant-garde rock band’s finances.
The indictment, issued by the District Prosecutor on Thursday, accuses the prominent musicians in the Nordic nation of submitting incorrect tax returns from 2011 to 2014, evading a total of 151 million Icelandic Krona ($1.2 million).
Band members fault their former accountant and say they have cooperated with tax authorities after learning about his mishandling. In a statement Thursday (March 28), the band vowed to clear its name and said it “regrets seeing the case end up in court.”
While the tax case is pending trial, assets belonging to the four — apartments and houses worth $6.5 million — will remain frozen by the authorities. Two-thirds of the assets belong to frontman Jon Thor Birgisson, who currently lives in Los Angeles.
Birgisson is charged with evading about $240,000 in income taxes and a further $105,000 in taxes on his investment income.
According to the prosecutor, other band members — Georg Holm, Kjartan Sveinsson and Orri Pall Dyrason — allegedly neglected reporting a total of $1.6 million in income, of which they should have paid about $725,000 in taxes.
In Iceland, general income tax for high earners is 46 percent.
Holm and Dyrason are also accused of evading about $150,000 in taxes on investments.
“The members of Sigur Ros are musicians — not experts on bookkeeping and international finance,” defense lawyer Bjarnfredur Olafsson said in a statement.
A court date has not set.