The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) executed three search warrants on Wednesday – including one in West Vancouver – in connection with an offshore tax evasion probe, related to the data leak from the Panamanian law firm and corporate service provider Mossack Fonseca.
Or as the case is more commonly known, the Panama Papers.
In a release, the CRA said that approximately 30 CRA criminal investigators, assisted by members of the RCMP and West Vancouver Police, took part in the operation.
The warrants were issued after the CRA’s investigation identified a series of transactions involving foreign corporations and several transfers through offshore bank accounts used allegedly to evade taxes.
This investigation, the CRA said, is one of the 42 international/offshore tax evasion cases that CRA is currently investigating “which involve complex structures and potentially multi-million dollars in taxes evaded.”
The CRA also said it is pursuing additional criminal investigations relating to the Panama Papers data leak.
“Wilfully failing to follow tax laws could result in serious consequences… court fines, jail time and a criminal record,” the CRA said.
“Under the income tax and excise tax laws, persons convicted of tax evasion can face fines ranging from 50% to 200% of the evaded taxes and up to five years imprisonment.”
If convicted of fraud in a case like this, the CRA said an individual can face up to 14 years in jail.