Royal Bank of Canada has been ordered to reveal the real owners of 97 offshore corporations that used the Bank’s services. The companies involved are all registered in the Bahamas, a tax haven, and legal issues originally came to light as part of a leak of financial records called Bahamas tax haven data. The records consist of detailed data on offshore companies registered in the Bahamas: the names, creation dates, addresses and, in some cases, directors and owners of nearly 175,000 corporations, trusts and foundations set up between 1990 and this year.
Canadian individuals and corporations have about $23 billion in declared, known funds held in or invested through the Bahamas — more than France, Spain and Portugal combined.
In May, a judge granted the federal government’s request for an order for Royal Bank and its RBC Dominion Securities subsidiary to provide any information that would help the CRA identify the owners of the 97 Bahamas corporations. The bank did not oppose the government.
It’s not illegal for Canadians to hold an offshore account or company, but any assets over $100,000 and any income have to be reported for tax purposes.