National Post (Latest Edition)

For­mer Cal­gary MP charged with tax eva­sion

Dates back to when Anders was in of­fice

- Christo­pher Nardi Na­tional Post, With files from Tyler Daw­son cnardi@ postmedia. com Twit­ter. com/ Chrisgnard­i Crime · Taxes · White-collar Crime · Canada News · Fraud · Politics · Business · Calgary · Ottawa · Stephen Harper · Conservative Party (Canada) · Conservative Party (UK) · Nelson Mandela · Veterans Affairs · Rob Anders · Canada Revenue Agency · Canadian Alliance · Signal Hill · Ron Liepert

OT TAWA • For­mer Con­ser­va­tive mem­ber of Par­lia­ment Rob Anders has been charged with tax eva­sion al­legedly com­mit­ted while he sat as an MP, Na­tional Post has learned.

For most of his po­lit­i­cal ca­reer, Rob Anders led the charge against taxes and big govern­ment in Ot­tawa. Now, prosecutor­s on be­half of the Canada Rev­enue Agency ( CRA) are charg­ing the for­mer Cal­gary West MP with al­legedly not pay­ing his share of taxes dur­ing the same years taxpay­ers were fund­ing his salary.

On Sept. 17, prosecutor­s laid five sep­a­rate charges against Anders re­lat­ing to tax eva­sion on be­half of the CRA. Most of the al­leged crimes oc­curred while Anders sat as an MP be­tween 1997 and 2015.

The three first charges al­lege that he made “false or de­cep­tive state­ments” when re­port­ing his to­tal tax­able in­come for 2012, 2013 and 2014 to the CRA.

The fourth charge al­leges that he “wil­fully evaded or at­tempted to evade pay­ment of taxes” for up to six years, be­tween 2012 and 2018.

The fifth charge al­leges that Anders ob­tained, or at least claimed, tax re­funds for which he was not el­i­gi­ble be­tween 2012 and 2015.

“In other words, it is rea­son­able to as­sume from the charges that CRA al­leges he did not de­clare some of his in­come for at least three years. That could be from any­thing, such as a side busi­ness for ex­am­ple,” said De­nis Me­u­nier, an anti- money laun­der­ing con­sul­tant and for­mer di­rec­tor gen­eral re­spon­si­ble for crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tions at the CRA.

“And as a re­sult of those years of un­de­clared rev­enue, he al­legedly evaded pay­ment of taxes. And then by do­ing so, he also claimed too many cred­its or made de­duc­tions to which he may not have been al­lowed, thus get­ting a re­fund from CRA,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to Me­u­nier and another ex- CRA crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tors who looked at the charges for Na­tional Post, the ac­cu­sa­tions are “ex­tremely se­ri­ous”. On its web­site, the agency states that in­di­vid­u­als con­victed of tax eva­sion face up to five years in prison as well as fines worth up to 200 per cent of the to­tal amount of taxes evaded.

“In ad­di­tion, the fin­ger­prints of in­di­vid­u­als charged with, or con­victed of, tax eva­sion are kept in the Cana­dian Po­lice In­for­ma­tion Cen­tre ( CPIC) and are avail­able to all do­mes­tic law en­force­ment agen­cies. For­eign law en­force­ment agen­cies with links to the CPIC sys­tem may con­sider such an in­di­vid­ual as not ad­mis­si­ble to their coun­try,” the agency warns.

Anders did not re­spond to re­quests for com­ment on Mon­day and Tues­day.

Though none of CRA’S al­le­ga­tions have been tested by the courts, just the fact that prosecutor­s de­cided to lay crim­i­nal charges against Anders is a bad sign for the for­mer MP, the ex­perts say. In the last fis­cal year, fed­eral prosecutor­s for CRA’S tax-re­lated files got con­vic­tions in 94 per cent of their cases, the agency says.

“The key word here is ma­te­ri­al­ity. CRA wouldn’t even start an in­ves­ti­ga­tion un­less it was ma­te­rial and sig­nif­i­cant. Gen­er­ally, the con­sid­er­a­tion is the amount of mone y in ques tion,” Me­u­nier ex­plained.

Anders is due for his first court ap­pear­ance in Cal­gary on Oct. 30, at which point the court file con­tain­ing more de­tails about his al­leged crimes will be made avail­able to the public.

Th­ese charges are just the lat­est con­tro­versy to hit Anders, who was al­ready an ex­tremely po­lar­iz­ing fig­ure by the time he left fed­eral pol­i­tics.

A close ally and sup­porter of Stephen Harper’s, Anders was a found­ing mem­ber of the Con­ser­va­tive Party of Canada after the fu­sion of the Cana­dian Al­liance and the Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tives.

The for­mer Cal­gary West MP was best known for two things: his strong so­cial and fis­cal con­ser­va­tive views, as well as be­ing the only Cana­dian par­lia­men­tar­ian in 2001 to vote against be­stow­ing hon­orary ci­ti­zen­ship to South African hero Nel­son Man­dela.

At the time, he ac­cused Man­dela of be­ing a com­mu­nist and a ter­ror­ist.

Over a decade later, Anders was re­moved from the Vet­er­ans Af­fairs com­mit­tee after be­ing ac­cused of fall­ing asleep dur­ing cer­tain wit­nesses’ tes­ti­monies, as well as ar­riv­ing late and tex­ting dur­ing meet­ings.

Anders’ fed­eral pol­i­tics ca­reer came to an end ahead of the 2015 fed­eral elec­tions, when he lost the nom­i­na­tion race for the newly created rid­ing of Cal­gary Sig­nal Hill to for­mer provin­cial min­is­ter Ron Liepert.

At the time, Prime Min­is­ter Harper had en­dorsed Anders, say­ing: “Rob is a true re­former and a true con­ser­va­tive. He has been a faith­ful sup­porter of mine and I am grate­ful for his work.”

The CRA de­clined to pro­vide any de­tails on the case.

 ?? Adrian Wyld / THE CANA­DIAN PRESS files ?? For­mer Con­ser­va­tive MP Rob Anders is due to ap­pear in a Cal­gary court on Oct. 30 on tax eva­sion charges.
Adrian Wyld / THE CANA­DIAN PRESS files For­mer Con­ser­va­tive MP Rob Anders is due to ap­pear in a Cal­gary court on Oct. 30 on tax eva­sion charges.

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