Taxman seizes Elephant Man's Benz
Agents from the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) yesterday seized a posh Mercedes-Benz motor car valued at millions of dollars from dancehall star Elephant Man in a bid to collect taxes owed by the entertainer.
The car was taken from an upscale home at Hillcrest Avenue, St Andrew, believed to be owned by Elephant Man, whose real name is Oneil Bryan.
While the car was being placed on a tow truck, Elephant Man, who has done several collaborations with R&B stars in the United States, remained inside the house with his advisers and did not speak to reporters gathered outside.
Director of communications for the IRD, Meris Haughton, did not release the delinquent's name, but confirmed that its special enforcement team, supported by the St Andrew North police, "conducted an operation to seize an asset of a taxpayer for outstanding taxes". Haughton would not divulge how much money is involved.
Could face charges
Haughton explained that in cases where property is seized, delinquent taxpayers have 10 days to pay off their arrears or the confiscated asset would be auctioned. She said if the proceeds from the auction do not cover the debt, the taxpayer could face criminal or civil charges.
Police sources told The Gleaner that the IRD's special enforcement team first swooped down on Elephant Man's mansion overlooking Havendale, also in St Andrew, but nothing of significant value was identified.
However, one source involved in the operation said the team learnt of the Hillcrest Avenue home while searching the first residence.
Elephant Man, popular for his colourful hairstyles and zany performances on stage, shot to fame in the 1990s with the dancehall group Scare Dem Crew. He then went solo and recorded a string of hit songs, including dancing anthems Pon Di River, Gully Creepa and Sweep.