The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported Wednesday it turned up the tax-avoidance advisers during its undercover camera investigation into offshore banking practices.
The CBC and its French-language investigative program, Enquete, hired a private investigator to test 15 offshore service providers in Canada and abroad. The CBC said its experts assessed the advice given by the firms and found more than half provided advice that wouldn't stand up to scrutiny concerning tax evasion.
The CBC said among those who doled out advice on how to avoid paying Canadian taxes in ways that wouldn't pass regulators' muster was Gilles Gosselin, who practiced law in Canada and used to work for the Canadian Revenue Agency before moving to Barbados, and Lynn Garner, a vice president with DGM, a private Barbados bank, who was once the trust manager for the Royal Bank of Canada in Barbados.
Andre Lareau, a tax law professor at Laval University in Quebec, told the CBC Gosselin offered a plan involving the British Virgin Islands that would be tax evasion.
"It's kind of depressing that someone would go over, as we say, to the dark side so completely," Jack Blum, an expert on white-collar financial crime in Washington, told the network.
Gosselin told the CBC he told the network's undercover investigator what he was contemplating was against the law in Canada.
"But if he wants to go ahead and open a BVI company and manage his assets with the BVI company, until he's actually gone there and done that, he hasn't done anything wrong," he said.
"This person told me that he was coming here, that he had a million dollars in a safety deposit box and he was looking to invest it outside of Canada, and that he wasn't -- and I told him specifically that that was against the law. And my last communication with him says specifically that."
Garner initially told the undercover investigator her bank would never take a client seeking to avoid taxes, then proceeded to tell him how to go about doing just that, the CBC said.
Lareau said Garner's plan constituted fraud, the CBC said.
DGM said it "is not engaged in any business practices that are not legal by the law of Barbados or of the laws of Canada. Any assertion to the contrary by the CBC will be aggressively rebutted both publicly and by legal means."