'You are receivers of stolen information. If you publish stories using this stolen information, you are stating that you have no respect for the rule of law,' Fred Sharp
|Names of prolific Canadian offshore operators in the enormous trove of leaked financial data known as the Panama Papers are being released, according to the CBC and the Toronto Star, which have exclusive access to the files in Canada.|
Former B.C. lawyer Frederick L. Sharp's business, Corporate House in Vancouver, was known as the "go to" firm for wealthy Canadians wanting to keep assets private and offshore to minimize their tax burden. He became the Canadian representative for Mossack Fonseca in 1994. The Panama Papers show Corporate House handled 1,167 offshore companies through Mossack Fonseca, mostly incorporated in the British Virgin Islands and mostly for Canadian clients. One of those companies was linked to a notorious fraudster, Michael Mitton.
Frederick L. Sharp
Michael Mitton, a serial fraudster with more than 100 criminal convictions.
|Michael Mitton, along with Aneillo Peluso, and Michael Ciavarella were busted in connection with the Pender International Inc. stock scam. Shares of Pender moved from the 30-cent US range in late 2004 to as much as $11.35 US just five weeks later— an increase of 3,783 per cent. The classic "pump and dump" stock manipulation would have been capable of netting over $360 million.|
Another client was Michael Ritter. Ritter became a self-proclaimed offshore financial guru in the 1990s after spending six years as the chief parliamentary counsel to the Alberta legislature — despite never having received a law degree, as he claimed. He pleaded guilty in October 2006 to theft for stealing from a client and to fraud for his role in a $270-million US pyramid scheme.
Michael Ritter in a 2001 photo taken in his kitchen.
|On May 5, Royal Bank announced it had agreed to hand over 40 years of records on hundreds of its clients revealed in the Panama Papers to federal tax auditors.|
The Canada Revenue Agency filed a motion in Federal Court to get the bank to turn over the files. Since the initial report the CBC and the Star have found more than 50 other offshore companies, bringing the total to at least 429. The CRA wants the names or any other identifying information on the RBC clients, as well as the names, directors, shareholders and other data on their offshore entities.
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