Pandora papers leak exposes offshore accounts including Elvis Stojko

Aaron MB Fan

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481
Wasn’t sure where to post this, so admins feel free to move this thread.

“Pandora Papers” leak exposes secret offshore accounts of politicians, celebrities and billionaires including Elvis Stojko:


Excerpt:
Elvis Stojko

The karate-chopping figure skater won hearts with his edgy Olympic performances and world championship wins, but the money from his success wasn't bad, either. The leaked files show Stojko transferred Canadian assets worth up to $6.5 million into an offshore trust in the Caribbean in 2007, while he was living in Mexico. Skate Canada, an organization that receives public funding, signed off on the transaction. Stojko told CBC News that he relied on his lawyer to handle his finances, and had "no real involvement or interest" in any of it. "When my longtime lawyer recommended that I set up a trust ... I did not question his advice, and I trusted him to act in a manner which was both in my best interests and in compliance with the law." Skate Canada declined to comment.
 

AxelAnnie

Like a small boat on the ocean...
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13,829
Wasn’t sure where to post this, so admins feel free to move this thread.

“Pandora Papers” leak exposes secret offshore accounts of politicians, celebrities and billionaires including Elvis Stojko:


Excerpt:
Elvis Stojko

The karate-chopping figure skater won hearts with his edgy Olympic performances and world championship wins, but the money from his success wasn't bad, either. The leaked files show Stojko transferred Canadian assets worth up to $6.5 million into an offshore trust in the Caribbean in 2007, while he was living in Mexico. Skate Canada, an organization that receives public funding, signed off on the transaction. Stojko told CBC News that he relied on his lawyer to handle his finances, and had "no real involvement or interest" in any of it. "When my longtime lawyer recommended that I set up a trust ... I did not question his advice, and I trusted him to act in a manner which was both in my best interests and in compliance with the law." Skate Canada declined to comment.
So?
 

wickedwitch

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15,355
The karate-chopping figure skater won hearts with his edgy Olympic performances and world championship wins, but the money from his success wasn't bad, either. The leaked files show Stojko transferred Canadian assets worth up to $6.5 million into an offshore trust in the Caribbean in 2007, while he was living in Mexico. Skate Canada, an organization that receives public funding, signed off on the transaction. Stojko told CBC News that he relied on his lawyer to handle his finances, and had "no real involvement or interest" in any of it. "When my longtime lawyer recommended that I set up a trust ... I did not question his advice, and I trusted him to act in a manner which was both in my best interests and in compliance with the law." Skate Canada declined to comment.
Why would they do that?

(Rhetorical question, mostly. Obviously I know they're corrupt morons, but this seems bad even for them. And they don't really benefit.)
 

Judy

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3,419
I think it is ok if they declare it but I am not 100% sure how offshore accounts work. If I think of it I'll ask my sister at Thanksgiving.
 

jenny12

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7,445
People who have offshore accounts just want to hoard their money and are not active participants in the counties they live. F Elvis. Glad he lost the gold.
 

overedge

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Yeah, imagining anyone thinking that their earnings are theirs by their right, rather than belonging to the government.

Are any of these transactions illegal? Why shouldn't people try to find venues where the tax rates are lower?

Elvis learned to skate, and he trained in, community arenas. Those arenas were built with tax dollars and their operating costs are subsidized with tax dollars. If he had had to pay the actual cost of using those arenas, he probably never would have got to the point where he could earn $6 million from his skating. And as a Skate Canada member I'm disgusted that SC would sign off on a tax avoidance scheme like that - especially as SC receives taxpayer funding itself.

We all benefit from things that taxes pay for, like roads, sewers, infrastructure, transit, electricity, fire/police and water supply. Evading taxes means those basic services don't get funded adequately, and everyone is worse off for it.
 

hanca

Values her privacy
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Elvis learned to skate, and he trained in, community arenas. Those arenas were built with tax dollars and their operating costs are subsidized with tax dollars. If he had had to pay the actual cost of using those arenas, he probably never would have got to the point where he could earn $6 million from his skating. And as a Skate Canada member I'm disgusted that SC would sign off on a tax avoidance scheme like that - especially as SC receives taxpayer funding itself.

We all benefit from things that taxes pay for, like roads, sewers, infrastructure, transit, electricity, fire/police and water supply. Evading taxes means those basic services don't get funded adequately, and everyone is worse off for it.
One could argue that his skating results benefited the whole country, and therefore by the time he retired, he has already paid his debt to the society. And if the country didn’t want people to be able to move money abroad, they would make it illegal. If it was legal, it was his money, he could do whatever he wanted with it (as long as it is legal) - I can’t see anything wrong with it.
 

ribbon

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Bands like U2 have done this for years too. It’s unfair but if done thru the proper channels it is legal, as far as I know.

what I think is most disappointing about the Panama Papers is not the entertainers but people like the King of Jordan, who has fourteen luxury homes, totaling about the cost of humanitarian aid the country receives from the UK.
 

chewy

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This news is an echo of the old draconian “amateur athlete” system. I have a guess that the transfer with Skate Canada involvement is his old style skater trust that they held.
 

marbri

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"Tax experts told the CBC that it’s quite likely such a transfer of wealth to a tax haven was legal and had no tax consequences for Stojko."

Elvis had been living in Mexico for a few years when this trust was set up and the money was transferred. He ended up staying in Mexico for about 12 years. Anything that Skate Canada would have signed off on is likely what chewy posted above. It doesn't have to be anything more than Elvis and his lawyer contacting Skate Canada to inform them his intention to remain in Mexico and could they transfer money in his trust to this bank account.

People like Elvis getting dragged into this aside names of money launderers, drug dealers etc... clearly make headline readers assume something nefarious.

If you moved abroad for a bit and then decided after a few years you want to stay in this new country and rebuild your life there you would likely move your assets and cut tax obligations with Canada. Legally. The trust was closed in 2012 and he moved back to Canada. Nothing to see here in my opinion.
 

mackiecat

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"Tax experts told the CBC that it’s quite likely such a transfer of wealth to a tax haven was legal and had no tax consequences for Stojko."

Elvis had been living in Mexico for a few years when this trust was set up and the money was transferred. He ended up staying in Mexico for about 12 years. Anything that Skate Canada would have signed off on is likely what chewy posted above. It doesn't have to be anything more than Elvis and his lawyer contacting Skate Canada to inform them his intention to remain in Mexico and could they transfer money in his trust to this bank account.

People like Elvis getting dragged into this aside names of money launderers, drug dealers etc... clearly make headline readers assume something nefarious.

If you moved abroad for a bit and then decided after a few years you want to stay in this new country and rebuild your life there you would likely move your assets and cut tax obligations with Canada. Legally. The trust was closed in 2012 and he moved back to Canada. Nothing to see here in my opinion.
Thank you! People don’t take the time to actually read and then just jump to conclusions
 

Vagabond

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Pretty certain that most of the tax avoidance schemes outlined are legal. So any outrage should be directed at laws that allow this type of concealment.
In many instances, though, the government officials who have been exposed either campaigned against tax avoidance or have been cracking down on others who shelter assets in other countries. The President of Ukraine is an example of the former, and the King of Jordan is an example of the latter.
 

overedge

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31,166

"Tax experts told the CBC that it’s quite likely such a transfer of wealth to a tax haven was legal and had no tax consequences for Stojko."

Elvis had been living in Mexico for a few years when this trust was set up and the money was transferred. He ended up staying in Mexico for about 12 years. Anything that Skate Canada would have signed off on is likely what chewy posted above. It doesn't have to be anything more than Elvis and his lawyer contacting Skate Canada to inform them his intention to remain in Mexico and could they transfer money in his trust to this bank account.

The trust was in the Caribbean, not in Mexico where he was living. He wasn't transferring money to be in a bank closer to where he lived.
 

overedge

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I never said he moved it to Mexico. But he wasn't a resident of Canada when the money was moved.

I would guess the money, or at least a good part of it, was earned in Canada or while he was living in Canada. If so, then it would be taxable in Canada.
 

Louis

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Many of the offshore tax schemes are legal - I believe even the Queen of England makes use of some.

It's perfectly legal for me, as a non-domiciled UK resident, to get paid in Jersey or Isle of Man and not pay UK tax on any money I don't bring to the UK. I could even do this after becoming a citizen, up until the time I've lived in the UK for 15 years. All perfectly legal. I don't do it, because 1) I don't think it's ethical, 2) it comes with some strings attached (more on that later), and 3) it requires a ton of recordkeeping.

Pretty certain that most of the tax avoidance schemes outlined are legal. So any outrage should be directed at laws that allow this type of concealment.

I agree with this. What's legal is not always ethical, and vice versa. (That said, the Elvis situation may be both legal and ethical.)

The trust was in the Caribbean, not in Mexico where he was living. He wasn't transferring money to be in a bank closer to where he lived.

But why should he pay Canadian taxes 1) on money that isn't in Canada and 2) when he isn't living in Canada?

I would guess the money, or at least a good part of it, was earned in Canada or while he was living in Canada. If so, then it would be taxable in Canada.

I'm sure it was taxed in Canada when he earned it. But then he moved the money outside of Canada, while he was not a resident of Canada. I haven't dug into this, but I'm not seeing any tax evasion here.

I suspect if Elvis tries to bring this money from the Caribbean back into Canada, it will be taxed at that point. That's the way these things usually work. They're usually only good if you intend to spend the money in a third-country. E.g., getting paid in Jersey would be great for me if my intention was to eventually spend the money outside of the UK. But it offers zero advantage if I end up bringing it to the UK. The second I bring it in the UK system, all tax becomes due.
 

marbri

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I would guess the money, or at least a good part of it, was earned in Canada or while he was living in Canada. If so, then it would be taxable in Canada.

While he lived there. There is a process where you can move from Canada and cut off any tax obligations. And CRA makes sure they take their $$$$$ before you leave. You have no idea if he did that or not.

And I am certain CRA will be taking a look at these breaking news so no need for any of us to fret over it.
 

dogbert

Active Member
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Many of the offshore tax schemes are legal - I believe even the Queen of England makes use of some.

It's perfectly legal for me, as a non-domiciled UK resident, to get paid in Jersey or Isle of Man and not pay UK tax on any money I don't bring to the UK. I could even do this after becoming a citizen, up until the time I've lived in the UK for 15 years. All perfectly legal. I don't do it, because 1) I don't think it's ethical, 2) it comes with some strings attached (more on that later), and 3) it requires a ton of recordkeeping.



I agree with this. What's legal is not always ethical, and vice versa. (That said, the Elvis situation may be both legal and ethical.)



But why should he pay Canadian taxes 1) on money that isn't in Canada and 2) when he isn't living in Canada?



I'm sure it was taxed in Canada when he earned it. But then he moved the money outside of Canada, while he was not a resident of Canada. I haven't dug into this, but I'm not seeing any tax evasion here.

I suspect if Elvis tries to bring this money from the Caribbean back into Canada, it will be taxed at that point. That's the way these things usually work. They're usually only good if you intend to spend the money in a third-country. E.g., getting paid in Jersey would be great for me if my intention was to eventually spend the money outside of the UK. But it offers zero advantage if I end up bringing it to the UK. The second I bring it in the UK system, all tax becomes due.
I agree with what Louis is saying here. There is a huge difference between "avoiding" taxes and "deferring" taxes. If you have an RRSP in Canada or a 401(k) in the U.S., you are sheltering your money from taxes. The investment returns that would be otherwise be taxable when generated are allowed to accumulate, tax-free, under the umbrella of the 401(k) or RRSP. But you pay tax when the money comes out, usually at a lower rate because it is income being taken during retirement

I don't know the details of Stojko's offshore trust - but it sounds as if his money was being invested by the trust offshore with the proceeds accumulating tax-free. At some point, the tax will have to be paid. So long as the laws are followed, it is not illegal to structure the movement and timing of money that you earn so that you keep your taxes to a minimum. Two people with the same salary and personal circumstances will have very different tax bills if one uses an RRSP to the max and the other doesn't.
 

Yazmeen

Shake it then, shake it now, shake it forever
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If you ever happen to fly in Grand Cayman island, you'll notice a block of post office boxes right off of the main airport drive. They don't belong to Caymanians - every one is an outside "business" or other company/trust/group incorporating or working in some manner in the island to avoid taxes. And it's usually legal to the best of my knowledge.
 

Judy

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3,419

"Tax experts told the CBC that it’s quite likely such a transfer of wealth to a tax haven was legal and had no tax consequences for Stojko."

Elvis had been living in Mexico for a few years when this trust was set up and the money was transferred. He ended up staying in Mexico for about 12 years. Anything that Skate Canada would have signed off on is likely what chewy posted above. It doesn't have to be anything more than Elvis and his lawyer contacting Skate Canada to inform them his intention to remain in Mexico and could they transfer money in his trust to this bank account.

People like Elvis getting dragged into this aside names of money launderers, drug dealers etc... clearly make headline readers assume something nefarious.

If you moved abroad for a bit and then decided after a few years you want to stay in this new country and rebuild your life there you would likely move your assets and cut tax obligations with Canada. Legally. The trust was closed in 2012 and he moved back to Canada. Nothing to see here in my opinion.
Yeah I am very open to this. As I said before I will ask my sister at Thanksgiving. I think we are so accustomed to criminals having offshore accounts.

It's always important to have facts vs assumptions and guessing. He was living there I think for a long time. I will ask.
 

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