DOCUMENTS REVEAL

Stephen Bronfman’s Offshore Links Lasted Longer Than He Admitted

Canadian Liberal Party fundraiser Stephen Bronfman’s connection to companies that were owed millions by an offshore trust lasted into the mid-2000s, despite his claim it ended years earlier.

Canadian Liberal Party fundraiser Stephen Bronfman’s connection to companies that were owed millions by an offshore trust lasted into the mid-2000s, new documents uncovered by ICIJ’s Canadian partner reveal, despite Bronfman’s claim his involvement ended years earlier.

The Paradise Papers revealed that, as Justin Trudeau campaigned to become Canada’s prime minister on a platform of economic and tax fairness, his chief fundraiser Bronfman quietly helped move millions of dollars offshore, using his family’s private investment company Claridge.

In a statement issued after the Paradise Papers revelations were first published, Bronfman said his only connection to the offshore trust in question ended in 1998.

Trudeau then told reporters he was “satisfied” with Bronfman’s response and that “all rules were followed”

However, new documents uncovered by journalists at the CBC show Bronfman’s link to the trust appears to have lasted until 2005.

According to the CBC:

Newly discovered documents from corporate registries, the Securities and Exchange Commission in the United States and the Paradise Papers database show that Bronfman was a key “member/shareholder” of Claridge Israel LLC— a Delaware company that was owed more than $8 million by the Kolber Trust.

One Paradise Papers document shows that as late as 2005, the “borrower” — the Kolber Trust — still owed Claridge Israel more than $7 million.

The Kolber Trust was set up in the Cayman Islands in 1991 by Leo Kolber, a long-time business associate of the Bronfman family and major fundraiser for the Liberal Party.

The latest revelations, first published last week, came as the issue continued to dominate question time in Canadian Parliament, and as Trudeau gave a speech calling on top earners and business leaders to take responsibility for rising income disparity in Canada.

Trudeau said the government had committed nearly 1 billion Canadian dollars ($787 million) to fighting tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance, the Canadian Press reported.

“There are people in Canada who are so wealthy that not only do they think they don’t need to pay their fair share of taxes, they’re forcing us to spend a billion dollars to go after them just so they’ll do the right thing and pay what they owe,” Trudeau said.

PARADISE PAPERS

Nike fails to stop EU probe on billions in alleged tax dodging

Jul 15, 2021
IMPACT

Global corporate tax crackdown plan moves forward, but faces key US hurdle

Jul 14, 2021
Reporters convene during a trip to Bermuda for Paradise Papers.
BEHIND THE SCENES

How reporting for ICIJ prepared me to become a certified anti-money laundering specialist

Jul 07, 2021
TAX HAVENS

G7 finance ministers agree on 15% minimum tax to crack down on corporate tax dodging

Jun 07, 2021
European Parliament
PARADISE PAPERS

EU tax transparency rules leave tax justice advocates craving more ambitious reforms

Jun 02, 2021
European Parliament EU flag
TAXES

European plan to unify corporate tax rules and recoup billions faces steep hurdles ahead

May 21, 2021
ICIJ is dedicated to ensuring all reports we publish are accurate. If you believe you have found an inaccuracy let us know.