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article imageCanada taxman signs Panama Papers search warrants

By AFP     Feb 14, 2018 in World

Canadian tax authorities raided locations in Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver on Wednesday as part of a criminal investigation prompted by the Panama Papers leak.

The Canada Revenue Agency said 30 of its investigators, assisted by federal police, took part in the operation, executing search warrants to look for evidence of income tax and excise tax offenses.

"The CRA's investigation identified a series of transactions involving foreign corporations and several transfers through offshore bank accounts used allegedly to evade taxes," it said in a statement.

In 2016, the so-called Panama Papers revelations divulged how many of the world's wealthy -- including politicians, celebrities and some criminals -- stashed assets in offshore companies.

The massive amount of data, which came from Panamanian legal firm Mossack Fonseca, included information on 350 Canadians.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government has said it hopes to recover Can$2.6 billion ($2.1 billion US) from tax evaders.

The CRA said it is pursuing other criminal investigations related to the Panama Papers leak.

In total, the agency has 42 international tax evasion probes open, which it said involve "complex structures and potentially multimillion dollars in taxes evaded."

Persons convicted of tax evasion can face fines of up to 200 percent of the evaded taxes and up to five years imprisonment. The penalty for tax fraud is up to 14 years in jail.

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