In a pre-emptive move, Royal Bank of Canada has agreed to give the Canada Revenue Agency records on hundreds of its clients revealed in the Panama Papers. The files stretch out over 40 years of RBC’s involvement in Panama.
This is good news – but here’s a backstory to consider: It wasn’t a decision RBC took simply because it was the right thing to do. The Canada Revenue Agency went to the Federal Court with a motion to get those files. CRA argued that it needed to investigate whether the 429 offshore companies RBC set up or handled in Panama through Mossack Fonseca had been used to evade tax. It also came days before the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists releases a list of Canadian offshore companies registered in Panama, as well as the names of shareholders and directors.