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Royal couple blames tax woes on identity theft

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Royal couple blames tax woes on identity theft
Princess Madeleine and Chris O'Neill in December 2014. Photo: TT
22:39 CET+01:00
Chris O'Neill, the British-American banker married to Sweden’s Princess Madeleine, has admitted to having had problems over unpaid US taxes, explaining that he had been the victim of identity theft.
The admission to Sweden’s Expressen newspaper fills in on a statement he made on Friday on the website of Sweden’s Royal Court, which claimed that the newspaper’s story about his debts  were “no longer valid”.  
 
“I am solely responsible for ensuring that all the tax and other fees… are paid on time,” O'Neill wrote to Expressen. “I have noticed that this has not been the case over the last few months.” 
 
He conceded that he had received a tax warrant from the New York State Department of Taxation in December, as reported by Expressen, but said that the warrant had been cancelled on 14th January after he informed investigators that he had been the victim of no fewer than 12 cases of identify fraud. 
 
The identity theft, he said, had begun on February 14th. 
 
“In addition to the substantial problems that this entailed, it has also delayed my accountants’ ability to continue ongoing negotiations with New York's fiscal and budgetary authority," he explained. "My audit firm believe that it is this delay which caused a warrant to be issued.” 
 
O’Neill said he had since paid off all his tax debts in Florida and New York, although he conceded that the payments could take further days to clear. 
 
Expressen and the German celebrity magazine Bunte had both  claimed that O’Neill was being pursued for unpaid taxes amounting to some $43,000 (350,000 kronor), much of which was related to a failure to pay property taxes on an apartment he bought in New York in 2013. 
 
The royal pair returned to Sweden in December, saying that they wanted time to decide on where in Europe to base themselves in the future.
 
Princess Madeleine is set to give birth to her second child later this year and told Swedish media in 2014 that she no longer wanted to live so far away from her relatives in Stockholm.
 
Expressen also claimed that Chris O'Neill had tax debts in Florida, where he owns a summer house. 
 
Gary Jakelow, a tax expert in New York, told Expressen:  "There is no reason not to pay their property taxes. But when dealing with so little money, it sounds more like someone has forgotten."
 
The couple are currently living in an apartment owned by Sweden's royal family in central Stockholm.
 
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