Par­adise Papers: Cana­dian PM Justin Trudeau’s elec­tion fundraiser may have bro­ken laws

The Miracle - - Politics -

Long-stand­ing off­shore ties of the Lib­eral Party mon­ey­man and his fa­mous fam­ily pro­vide jar­ring con­trast to Cana­dian prime min­is­ter Trudeau’s cam­paign for tax fair­ness. (Writ­ten by: Ryan Chit­tum and Har­vey Cashore)

AS A can­di­date and as Canada’s Prime Min­is­ter, Justin Trudeau has made eco­nomic and tax fair­ness a cen­tre­piece of his po­lit­i­cal mes­sage. “We can af­ford to do more for the peo­ple who need it by do­ing less for the peo­ple who don’t,” he said while run­ning for of­fice. Trudeau had be­gun his cam­paign for a new kind of Cana­dian pol­i­tics by turn­ing to a close friend to help raise funds for it: Stephen R Bronf­man. A fi­nancier and scion of one Canada’s most fa­mous fam­i­lies, Bronf­man quickly trans­formed Trudeau’s Lib­eral Party from mori­bund po­lit­i­cal pau­per to fi­nan­cial jug­ger­naut, nearly dou­bling dona­tions in two years. As a thank-you ges­ture, he sent thou­sands of donor pairs of mit­tens in Lib­eral Party-red. “Justin is very, very sal­able,” Bronf­man, 53, once ob­served to re­porters. “He’s got a great name, and peo­ple want to find out who he is.” As the Lib­eral Party’s chief fundraiser, Bronf­man took on a man­tle long worn by his god­fa­ther, Leo Kol­ber, the jok­ingly self-pro­claimed “con­sigliere” of the Bronf­man fam­ily and long­time pil­lar of the Lib­eral Party es­tab­lish­ment. Kol­ber ran many of the Bronf­mans’ businesses for decades, be­com­ing wealthy him­self in the process. But while Trudeau’s tax-the-rich mes­sage res- onates with ad­mir­ers around the world, a trove of se­cret doc­u­ments sug­gest that Bronf­man’s pri­vate-in­vest­ment com­pany, Clar­idge, for a quar­ter of a cen­tury qui­etly helped move mil­lions of dol­lars off­shore to Kol­ber fam­ily en­ti­ties that may have avoided taxes in Canada, the United States and Is­rael, via a fam­ily trust, shell com­pa­nies and ac­count­ing moves ques­tioned by ex­perts. Some of those moves may have run afoul of the rules, ac­cord­ing to tax ex­perts, and came as lawyers rep­re­sent­ing Bronf­man, Kol­ber and other clients with off­shore in­ter­ests were cred­ited with lead­ing a lob­by­ing cam­paign that suc­cess­fully staved off a crack­down on off­shore trusts long sought by Cana­dian tax of­fi­cials.

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