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Icelandic rock band Sigur Ros charged with tax evasion

March 29, 2019
FILE - In this Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013 file photo, Jon Thor Birgisson, center, from the Icelandic rock group Sigur Ros, performs at the Corona Capital music festival in Mexico City. 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, March 28, 2019 accuses the Nordic nation’s prominent musicians of submitting incorrect tax returns from 2011 to 2014, evading a total of 151 million Icelandic Krona ($1.2 million). (AP Photo/Christian Palma, file)
FILE - In this Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013 file photo, Jon Thor Birgisson, center, from the Icelandic rock group Sigur Ros, performs at the Corona Capital music festival in Mexico City. 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, March 28, 2019 accuses the Nordic nation’s prominent musicians of submitting incorrect tax returns from 2011 to 2014, evading a total of 151 million Icelandic Krona ($1.2 million). (AP Photo/Christian Palma, file)

REYKJAVIK, Iceland (AP) — Members of the Icelandic avant-garde rock band Sigur Ros have been charged with tax evasion three years after authorities launched a probe of the group’s finances.

An indictment issued by the district prosecutor Thursday accused the prominent musicians of submitting incorrect tax returns from 2011 to 2014, evading a total of 151 million Icelandic Krona ($1.2 million).

The band’s four members faulted their former accountant and said they cooperated with tax authorities after learning about the inaccurate tax returns.

In a statement Thursday, they vowed to clear the Sigur Ros name and said the group “regrets seeing the case end up in court.”

Assets of the four, including apartments and houses worth $6.5 million, will be frozen pending trial, authorities said. Two-thirds of the assets belong to Sigur Ros frontman Jon Thor Birgisson, who currently lives in Los Angeles.

Birgisson is charged with evading about $240,000 in income taxes and another $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.

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