Monday, November 20, 2017

U of T’s endowment, pension funds have investments in two offshore tax havens

The University of Toronto’s endowment and pension funds have investments in two offshore tax havens including a Cayman Islands company founded by U.S. Secretary of Commerce and billionaire Wilbur Ross, newly leaked documents reveal.

The University of Toronto’s pension fund holds shares in WLR IV Loans AIV Feeder (Cayman), Ltd., part of a web of offshore companies traced to Ross, a billionaire investor who founded a coal company implicated in the deaths of a dozen miners and an investment company fined $2.3 million (U.S.) by the Securities and Exchange Commission for financial improprieties.

The Governing Council of the University of Toronto — which oversees the academic, business and student affairs of the university — is also named as an investor in a company listed in the Malta corporate registry.

Both Malta and the Cayman Islands are well-known tax havens. The investments are not listed in U of T’s annual pension and endowment statements. The Cayman Islands investment doesn’t appear in the university’s financial statements because it represents less than one per cent of the pension fund’s total assets, according to a written statement from the university.

In all, a cache of 13 million leaked records from the offshore law firm Appleby — known as the Paradise Papers and obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists which includes the Toronto Star — show more than 150 prestigious universities and colleges across Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. with tax haven investments, including Oxford, Cambridge, Princeton, Columbia, Stanford, University of Pennsylvania and University of Texas and Northeastern.

Together, they are invested in more than 200 offshore firms, mostly in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda.  (more...)


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