Yesterday at 2pm EST the full list of names linked to Mosseck Fonseca, the law firm at the heart of the Panama Papers, were released online: and the number of Canadians involved has quickly caught the eye.
It is estimated that there are more than 1,300 corporate “officers” linked to Canada in the documents – both individuals and corporations. In addition, there are 912 offshore entities, 242 intermediaries and 1,312 addresses with links to the country, according to Global News. To focus on them all would be a strenuous task – however, there is one name that is definitely worth highlighting.
That name is Calvin Edward Ayre, the notorious and flamboyant internet gambling tycoon who has Canadian citizenship. According to an NBC News report, he has used a host of offshore companies to stay ahead of the authorities.
Ayre has been under investigation in the USA since at least 2003. His website, Bodog.com, is one of the largest gambling empires in the world and he is well-known for making the cover of Forbes
magazine and taking part in an MTV Cribs show as well as appearing on People
magazine’s Hottest Bachelors list. Often surrounded by women in bikinis and sipping champagne, he has released a host of self-promotional videos and even had his own YouTube show. However, he was indicted in 2012 on charges of conspiracy to launder money and illegal gambling. He was actually placed among the Department of Homeland Security’s Top 10 Most Wanted Fugitives.
Since then Ayre has moved from one tax haven to another while eluding the taxman and the Justice Department and posting his antics on social media.
It is believed that Ayre and his associates have used offshore companies to hide hundreds of millions of dollars. Authorities have already seized $68 million – but it is hoped the Papers can help them reel in more. Ayre and his associates have been accused of moving around $100 million from accounts in Malta, England, Switzerland and Canada into US accounts in order to pay gamblers and pay for advertising.
Now, however, NBC News claims that that his secret financial dealings have been exposed by the Panama Papers. The news channel suggests that Ayre created another offshore company in Tortola in the British Virgin Islands and controlled it from 2007-2013.
Using offshore accounts is not an illegal activity. However, speaking to the news outlet, a US law enforcement official stated that “Any information that would help us … locate accounts, or funds or investments of any kind, is something (authorities) would be interested in.”