Paradise Papers: Montreal Canadiens issue denial after being named in leak
The Canadiens are among 3,300 Canadian firms named in the leak of records from an offshore law firm
The NHL's Montreal Canadiens are among 3,300 Canadian organizations to be named in a massive leak of records from offshore law firm Appleby. The leak, known as the Paradise Papers, lists companies that may have benefited from offshore accounts in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda designed to avoid paying domestic taxes.
CBC News reports that the Canadiens, an Appleby client since 1980, set up two trusts (one of which was shut down in 2010). The organization issued a statement to CBC's Valerie Ouellet, saying that its accounts were "in full compliance with the existing Canadian tax legislation."
Now, the Canadiens are not necessarily in the wrong just for having offshore accounts. The Paradise Papers website lists a disclaimer that "there are legitimate uses for offshore companies and trusts. We do not intend to suggest or imply that any people, companies or other entities included in the ICIJ Offshore Leaks Database have broken the law or otherwise acted improperly." This is just a list of companies involved in these accounts.
Some countries are considered "tax havens," aka countries with extremely low tax rates, and it isn't uncommon practice for wildly successful companies to declare their revenues in these countries. Although the practice is controversial, it isn't intrinsically illegal. It's when companies set up shells in other countries to get lower rates that the legality becomes comprised.
Some of these questions should be cleared up in the future, but as of now the Habs are innocent until proven guilty. However, being named in these papers will bring a lot of scrutiny upon the organization, as investigators will undoubtedly be looking into the finances of the companies named in the leak.
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