1674942921 tax evasion Court slap in the face for Montrealers

tax evasion | Court slap in the face for Montrealers hiding French fortunes

A Supreme Court judge castigates the representatives of wealthy French people who hide their billions in Canada. In a devastating decision, he fired back-to-back two groups of Montreal financiers and lawyers who were at odds over the management of these fortunes. It also lashes out at schemes that exploit the country’s laws to hide foreign funds.

Posted yesterday at 5:00am


“Has Canada become a tax haven? At least that’s what the actors in this case think,” said Judge Bernard Synnott from the start after financier Alain E. Roch had initiated proceedings. This former Swiss banker is the founder of Blue Bridge Wealth Management Inc., a company that manages billions of Quebec families trying to avoid French wealth taxes, well protected in Ontario trusts.

Originally, Roch’s lawsuit sought to recover the management of five of those structures and the millions of dollars in management fees associated with them. Before him were the lawyers Delphine Doron and Nicolas Schakowskoy and the financiers Minh Tuan Anh Nguyen and Stéphane Joseph Daniel Hermosilla. For their part, on the contrary, they asked for confirmation of the transfer of these customers to them and for the invalidation of false documents that Roch might have presented.

“Vanity and Greed”

The two clans accused each other of unfair practices aimed at profiting from their lucrative French clientele, but Judge Synnott dismissed almost all of their allegations, painting a scathing portrait of the two parties and their practices.

“The vanity, the lure of gain, and the contempt they have for one another lead them to turn to the court and laugh at the consequences of a public trial that allows their participation in broad daylight to become a scheme of abusive tax avoidance is exposed or tax evasion, or even maybe even tax evasion to the French tax authorities, “he disables.

Judge Synnott finds that “each of the parties is involved or has participated, directly or indirectly, in a grand deception that allows billions of dollars to be hidden in more than 300 Canadian trusts owned by wealthy French families with no connection to Canada to have”.

The judge reports how, starting in 2009, Roch and his company Blue Bridge had the assets of these French people, previously hidden in tax havens, transferred to the country. “From 2011 everything will be relocated from Singapore to Canada for fear of a disclosure obligation from the city-state. »

“These billions hang as if by chance on wealthy French families, all of whom, without knowing each other, discovered in a moment of revelation the undeniable merits of Canadian trusts and of course Blue Bridge,” ironically Judge Synnott.

He points out that Roch and Blue Bridge have also attempted to obtain orders of sealing, confidentiality and non-disclosure on the trusts’ beneficiaries and the sums they house.

“Of course they want to protect those who hide their wealth behind the disguise of trusts from the tax authorities. Without anonymity, “the house of cards collapses, taking Roch and Blue Bridge’s earnings with it”.

The judge countered this discretionary motion with an end to inadmissibility.

The magistrate noted that he would have liked to issue such orders “if a [aurait] tries to protect the legitimate interests of third parties”. However, “the parties and the third parties they represent through trusts have knowingly engaged in a strategy which causes astonishment and which, as we have seen, does not appear legitimate”.

“Whitewashing” and “Evidence Washing”

“Per the “wishes” of certain beneficiaries, Blue Bridge launders millions of dollars belonging to certain trusts through donations to foundations on Blue Bridge’s behalf. This makes it possible to hide the identity of the true donor (the trust) and ultimately the identity of the individuals behind the donation,” Justice Synnott said.

He describes the “evidence laundering” that the two clans do with their clients. The judge specifically cites Delphine Doron, who herself explained during extrajudicial questioning how she “destroyed” and “thrown” computers to “protect” her clients’ identities.

tax evasion Court slap in the face for Montrealers


Delphine Doron of McGill Avocats in Montreal and Chess Avocats in Paris

Admitted to the Paris and Quebec bars, the lawyer knew very well what she was doing, admitting that “trusts are considered tax evasion in French tax law”. “The fewer tracks there are, the better off we are,” she said questioningly.

“Nevertheless, before a judge who grew ever more perplexed and incredulous at trial, the parties persisted in supporting the untenable: the whole operation was, as we said, highly legal,” wrote Bernard Synnott. In any event, it is argued, this does not concern the Court, since the questions put before it would not allow it to interfere in such virtuous matters. »

Well informed customers

Bernard Synnott also has a word for the clients of McGill Avocats, Blue Bridge and Delphine Doron’s firm in Montreal.

“Like the parties to this litigation, the families behind the trusts are acting in full knowledge of the facts because when the noose of the French tax authorities tightens sufficiently around one of them, the latter hastens to resort to the voluntary disclosure system put in place in France, he writes. This avoids paying fines to the tax authorities, which can reach tens or even hundreds of millions of euros at once. »

In addition, Paris requires full information on these structures as part of its international tax cooperation agreements with Canada. In December 2021, the Supreme Court confirmed that the company must disclose the identity of its beneficiaries to the Republic, as reported by La Presse and other media.

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  • Delphine Doron’s clan spent 2.7 million in legal costs for this process. Funds from five trusts managed by his partner Minh Tuan Anh Nguyen. “If it’s other people’s money, why not? writes Judge Bernard Synnott in his verdict.

    Source: Supreme Court ruling