The government announced on Friday that a prominent Canadian businessman—Canadian financier, Lui Porocco—would be brought to justice after he was found in 2015 guilty of hiding $2.9 million of his holdings overseas in tax havens.
In the future, Porocco will likely face additional charges as the Justice Department says that Porocco’s $350 million of assets across 21 bank accounts were part of a massive scheme to evade U.S. taxes, and it added that it is seeking to extradite him from Mexico to face the charges in the United States. The operation represents the most comprehensive forfeiture of U.S. assets by foreign authorities under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act.
“Today’s actions highlight Canada’s commitment to making sure that citizens with offshore accounts pay their fair share of taxes,” said Kathryn Keneally, the chief of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division’s International Tax Practice. “It is only through enforceable commitments that Canada will be able to end its reputation as a safe haven for asset laundering and corrupt individuals.”
Porocco was reportedly a close family friend of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He had reportedly stashed money in offshore accounts and created companies for the benefit of rich individuals he met through Trudeau’s charity, the Toronto-based Lauzon Foundation. According to Bloomberg, the government will take a few additional steps to gain access to Porocco’s assets as Canada hasn’t always demanded that a person be involved in order to seize assets overseas. The government announced last year that it would be taking a more aggressive approach and account for those that may be involved in tax schemes.
Porocco is currently being held in a U.S. prison where he has lost over $32,000 of the $350 million in assets seized from him by the Justice Department. The total value of the asset should be about $120 million.
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