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Friday News Roundup 20.09.25: Leafs losses, Ex-CPA jailed, tax judge named, snow washing and more

Wrapping up the odds and ends in this week’s Canadian accounting news

Author: Canadian Accountant

TORONTO, Sept. 25, 2020 – The Throne Speech and its COVID-19 pandemic spending was the big topic of the week in Canadian news. Tax advisors like Tim Cestnick in the Globe and Mail are already advising Canadians that tax hikes are on the horizon. We will of course have more on this topic in the days ahead but this week’s Friday news roundup of the odds and ends from the world of Canadian accounting includes: 

CRA spears former Maple Leafs for forex trading sham

The Bay Street Bullies, former Toronto Maple Leafs’ Shayne Corson and Darcy Tucker, were named in the Toronto Star this week in connection with a foreign currency tax evasion scheme. The CRA says more than 150 taxpayers have been reassessed for using the forex trading sham to avoid millions of dollars in tax. Tucker abandoned his appeal in 2016 but Corson, who declared $7.5 million in tax losses over two years, is still fighting the case. 

The CRA crackdown also netted the wealthy Paletta family of Burlington, who made news last year for their involvement in a complex sham involving investments in Hollywood films. The Paletta family empire reported losing more than $215 million over six years through Forex trading, according to CRA documents filed Tax Court. 

Former Canmore CPA sentenced to jail

Former Canmore, Alberta accountant James Russell Neilson, who was kicked out of CPA Alberta back in 2016, was sentenced this week to 5½ years in prison and ordered to pay back $1.6 million to his victims. Neilson created a company, Abaca Solutions, that purported to provide offshore accounting services to mid-sized accounting firms. He was convicted of fraud and money laundering and was escorted into custody immediately following the sentencing hearing. 

Tax Court judge in UofT law school dispute named by media

This week, both the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star named Justice David Spiro, who sits on the Tax Court of Canada, as the subject of complaints to the Canadian Judicial Council. The complaints are based on allegations from members of the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law that the law school rescinded a job offer to a scholar, Valentina Azarova, of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories. Azarova is said to have lost the position of director of the law school’s International Human Rights Program after external influence from the sitting judge. 

Amnesty International has threatened to withdraw its support of the program unless an investigation is conducted. According to the Globe and Mail: “The judge’s alleged interference has also sparked a petition signed by more than 1,000 lawyers and academics in Canada and abroad, urging the law school to reinstate the job offer to the scholar and issue an apology and for the CJC to investigate the conduct of the judge.” Justice Spiro and his extended family, which includes the Tanenbaum family of MLSE fame, are major donors to the University of Toronto and charitable causes. 

Alberta, New Brunswick benefit from snow washing

Lax corporate transparency rules continue to stain Canada’s lily-white financial reputation. In a lengthy investigative piece, the CBC traced the fatal sinking of a Russian fishing trawler of the coast of Mauritania, to murky money laundering allegations through Alberta and New Brunswick. The story involves the habit of foreign crooks to use Canada’s good reputation to “snow wash” their money, typically through provinces that do not require the true beneficiaries of corporations to be identified. 

By Canadian Accountant staff.

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