Stephen Bronfman, who played key role in Canadian PM’s rise, was involved in complex offshore web, leaked papers show
The chief fundraiser and senior adviser to the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, who played a critical role in the rise to power of the charismatic politician, was involved in the movement of millions of dollars to offshore havens, the Paradise Papers reveal.
Stephen Bronfman, heir to the Seagram fortune, who was instrumental in Trudeau’s successful bid for the leadership of the Canadian Liberal party in 2013 and the premiership two years later, engaged through his family investment business in a complex web of entities in the US, Israel and the Cayman Islands. Multimillion-dollar cashflows between the three jurisdictions might legally have avoided taxes in the US, Canada and Israel.
The leaked documents unveil a close relationship between two wealthy families who collaborated to shift millions of dollars to the Cayman Islands. On one side were the Bronfman family, inheritors of the Seagram distillery fortune in Montreal.
On the other side was the Cayman Islands-based trust of Leo Kolber, a former Canadian senator and powerhouse within the Liberal party Trudeau now leads.
Accountants working for the families discussed the possibility of recasting interest owed by the Kolber trust to two US-based Bronfman funds as “services rendered”, on the basis that the loans were not “in substance (only in form)”. Tax experts say that such interest-free loans would generally be barred under US tax laws.
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