Thursday, April 04, 2013

"Keep correspondence to a minimum" ..... "Do not fax the client. He will have a stroke" ... Lawyer Tony Merchant

"Hello, this is CyberSmokeBlog calling is Tony Merchant there?" ..... "NO!" ..... "Is Pana Merchant there?" ..... "NO!" ..... "Everyone knows CSB is a bloody pain in the ass always asking embarrassing questions!" ..... "CLICK!" .....

Good Day Readers:

As you can see CyberSmokeBlog tried for an exclusive interview with the Merchants but was roundly rebuffed. It's not easy being a Blogger you know!

Well, it's that time of year again!
The "Official" Canada Revenue Agency Pencil Sharpner only $10.95. All proceeds will go to the Harper Government to defray revenues lost from offshore trust accounts!

Well, at least now the CRA will not be able to chase you down to the ends of the earth for that last penny. It's rather amusing watching the Harper government in full damage control mode. Yesterday, there was Shelly Glover Parliamentary Secretary to Finance Minister Jim Flahety hitting the air waves trying to convince anyone who'd listen the latest budget contained an additional $40 million for tax audits so you should not worry everything is hunky dory. My God what a silly, misguided little woman she is if she really believes it! Someone should enlighten the poor soul so CSB will.

A few years ago when names of Australians with hidden bank accounts in the notorious Lichtenstein tax haven made it into the public domain, unlike the Harper government the Australians acted swiftly and decisively to form a special group involving representatives from 6-7 federal departments. Not only were there successful prosecutions but significant revenues were recovered plus the number of individuals attempting to squirrel away money offshore significantly declined. It seems investors got the message. Ask Ms Glover how many successful Canadian prosecutions there have been for similar offences here since she was elected?

The United States, United Kingdom and Australia are three jurisdictions that publish a "tax gap number" - the amount that should be collected versus that which is - why doesn't the CRA do likewise Ms Glover?

Are you going to ..... well are you?
This latest data drop is somewhat more extensive than that witnessed by Wikileaks a couple years ago. It presents some very interesting legal questions. Jeffifer McGuire, the CBC's News Editor-In-Chief is already on the public record as stating it will not release the names of the 450 or so Canadians identified as having offshore accounts. Like the Merchants, assuming the other 449 persons identified have each similarly squirreled away $1.7 million that's a cool $750 million on which no tax has been paid. Are there any Canadian corporations engaging in these activities? Oh, probably.

So will the Harper government/Canada Revenue Agency go after the People's Network in court to gain access to the names? Failing that, what about subpoenaing The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists?

Admittedly, not all these Canadians will be engaged in tax avoidance but one must wonder how many more Pana and Tony Merchants are there and how much revenue could be recovered so our taxes could be lowered - wishful thinking you say? A total figure (individuals/corporations) being bandied about is $6-7 billion annually. Will the CRA go after the $1.7 million? Will Mr. Merchant be charged with tax evasion? Will his tax returns be re-audited from the time the offshore trust fund was established?

Other shoes waiting to fall?
You have to wonder whether other such luminaries as Conrad "I discovered God and it's me!" Black recently reported in the media to be involved in a $5 million tax dispute with the CRA will make the honour role..
Then there's Mitt?
The Koch Brothers?
BTW, the CBC has set up a website (Stashing Their Cash - http://www.cbc.ca/news/interactives/offshore-tax-havens/) where you can continue to follow this story.

Were the other mainstream media asleep at the switch?

Why is the CBC the only accredited member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists? Further, obviously it worked on the story for several months yet not a word about it was leaked until yesterday's release. Don't journalists/reporters from competing news outlets talk even if it's over a beer or two? At least on the surface it seems like quite a feat for the CBC to have been able to keep this under wraps for so long. Were CTV, the Globe and Mail, National Post and Toronto Star indeed asleep at the switch? Some interesting questions there.

In the meantime, Here's a primer on the ICIJ.

Sincerely,
Clare L. Pieuk
International Consortium of Investigative Journalists Releases Secrecy For Sale: Inside The Global Offshore Money Maze

By Jeff Periah
Thursday, April 4, 2013

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has released the largest investigative reporting project in its 15-year history: “Secrecy For Sale: Inside The Global Offshore Money Maze.” Drawing from 2.5 million secret files, the organization helmed “what may be the largest cross border journalism collaboration in history,” it notes on ICIJ.org.
secrecyForSale_CPI_Header-1

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