Members of Sigur Rós have been charged with new counts of tax evasion, the Associated Press reports and Pitchfork can confirm. According to documents viewed by the AP, Jónsi Birgisson, Georg Holm, Kjartan Sveinsson, and Orri Pall Dyrason collectively evaded a total of 151 million Icelandic Krona ($1.2 million) from 2011 to 2014. The new charges arrive after Birgisson, Holm, and Dyrason were accused of previous tax evasion charges, which were cleared last year. The band ultimately claimed that their accountant’s mistake led to $8 million worth of assets being frozen by the Icelandic government.
The new charges are being levied against the band by local authorities as opposed to the Icelandic government. The current indictment was issued today (March 28) by Reykjavík’s District Prosecutor. The charges reportedly stem from an investigation into the band’s finances that was launched three years ago.
In a statement shared with Pitchfork, Sigur Rós said:
Individual tax returns for the members of Sigur Rós in Iceland have been under investigation for 2011-2014. Last December the Internal Revenue Directorate accepted all numbers and arguments sent in on behalf of the band for this period, and therefore no disagreement remains between them and the Icelandic tax authorities. However, the Reykjavík district prosecutor has decided to indict the members of the band for incorrect tax returns during the same years. The members of the band regret that this matter needs to go before the courts, but at the same time they hope that their point of view will be understood. They have always had the full intention to comply with their financial and tax obligations and they thought they always did.
Bjarnfredur Olafsson of LOGOS Legal Services added:
The members of the band are musicians and not experts in bookkeeping or international trade—let alone delivering tax returns and related data. That is why they hired internationally recognized experts to take care of the books and all necessary reports to the Icelandic authorities. But it has come to light that wrong returns were delivered to the internal revenue and/or they were delivered too late. At the same time the members of the band thought these matters were in order and in the hand of professionals. It will now be up to the district prosecutor to prove that the individual members of the band were grossly negligent in filing their tax returns. In light of the facts of the case I cannot see how that can be done and therefore it is disappointing that the district prosecutor has decided to indict them.”
According to the new charges, assets belonging to the four members of Sigur Rós (including houses and apartments appraised at $6.5 million total) will remain frozen while the tax case is pending trial. A court date has not yet been set for the case.
This article was originally published on Thursday, March 28 at 8:30 p.m. Eastern. It was last updated on March 28 at 9:43 p.m. Eastern.