CBC slams door on CRA over Panama Papers

Chief refuses to hand over data following massive offshore tax dodge leak

CBC slams door on CRA over Panama Papers
Earlier this week we revealed the Canada Revenue Minister’s plans to crackdown on offshore tax-dodgers (see article) – but now those plans may have hit a roadblock.

That’s because news organization CBC is refusing to hand over the data it has about the investors and offshore shell companies included in the Panama Papers.

Agency commissioner Andrew Treusch reportedly wrote to the president of CBC last week stating that the CRA wanted to begin work immediately and review the data. However, according to CBC the request has been rebuffed: much as it was when the CRA tried to get hold of other tax haven data back in 2013.

A spokesman for the news organization has stated that CBC does not reveal its sources and is “not about to start now as a result of this request.”

The Panama Papers were distributed to CBC and other news outlets earlier in the year with some of their details revealed this month. Now their contents are having massive implications on politicians, celebrities and more around the world.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists is said to be posting a subset of the information on a database in May but, in his letter, Treusch stated that he did not wish to wait for the posting requesting it in a “timelier manner”. The letter also said “we are not asking you to reveal your sources”.

However, Marina Walker Guevara, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists's deputy director, stated in an interview that she believes the information should be public and transparent – and that means revealing it in a bare bones, searchable database rather than the documents.

Where do you stand on this issue? Should CBC have assisted the CRA? Leave a comment below with your thoughts.