Thursday, April 7, 2016

From Panama to Hong Kong — and why you can’t afford to live in Vancouver

When the dust settles on the Panama Papers saga, the Canadian angle may not be how much federal and provincial treasuries have been bilked by our own One Percenters, but what an inviting and unquestioning haven this country is for foreigners wishing to hide their wealth.

Two key Canadian government agencies have already warned that this country’s lack of rules, regulations or even basic data-gathering leaves it open to money-laundering and questionable investments. These warnings have come after a belated examination of the vast amounts of money being thrown into the Toronto and Vancouver property markets, primarily — but not exclusively — by wealthy Chinese, many of them closely connected by blood or loyalty to the Communist Party regime in Beijing.

There have been rumours for some time in the wake of studies by the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) that a major problem in gathering useful information is that very many purchases are made in the name of numbered companies registered in tax havens.

This makes it nearly impossible to identify the beneficial owners of property or businesses purchased in Canada by non-resident foreigners. Canada — unlike other countries such as the United States — does not keep records of buyers’ countries of permanent residence or the beneficial owners of property or businesses.

The 11.5 million leaked confidential documents from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, the world’s fourth largest provider of anonymity for tax haven investors, confirms the route many wealthy Chinese are taking to get money out of their country. The papers also show the enormous challenge facing countries like Canada and many others if they want to get serious about ending the evils of tax avoidance and the increasingly socially divisive hidden fortunes of the mega-rich.  (more...)

What do you think I can get for my house?

No comments:

Post a Comment