Canada’s RBC Denied Facilitating Tax Evasion in Connection to Panama Papers Leak
Canada's biggest bank, the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), had responded to the Panama Papers documents leak connecting the bank to an offshore money trail. The bank has denied having or supporting any illegal activities in offshore tax havens.
The RBC is listed among thousands other high-profile individuals and institutions in a documents leak obtained from Panama-registered law firm Mossack Fonseca. According to CBC News, the documents suggest that the bank used the law firm's services to set up at least 370 offshore companies for its clients.
While setting up a holding company overseas itself is not always associated with illegal activities, there are some illegal reasons to set up offshore companies, including money laundering, tax evasion, or support for criminal activities such as drug dealing, among others.
The RBC is quick to respond and explained in an official statement that their practices are legal as it has high standards to make sure its services are not being use for wrongdoings or illegal activities such as tax evasion. "We have an extensive due diligence process to ensure we understand who the client is and what their intentions are, and will not proceed with a transaction until we do," as revealed in the statement.
Furthermore, the bank claimed that they would report accordingly and terminate business with a client if they found any reason to believe a client is up to a criminal offense, including tax evasion. "We make sure our clients have the information they need to properly file their taxes and we advise them of their obligation to do so," the statement said.
After its name was revealed to have set up about 370 offshore corporations, RBC claimed to have been working within the legal and regulatory framework, not only in Canada but every other country in which the bank operates. According to Financial Post, the statement also explained that the RBC also advises clients to seek independent tax advice from professionals.
The law firm, from which the 11 million documents were obtained, is reportedly one of the world's top firm to create offshore or shell companies for various reasons, including tax evasions. According to CTVNews, the authenticity of the documents have been confirmed by the firm but denied any wrongdoing in association with any clients named in the documents.
Canada's RBC has defended its name after being listed as one of Mossack Fonseca's clients in the Panama Papers. The bank claimed to not have help or advised any of its clients to evade tax using shell companies in offshore tax havens such as Panama.