Galen Weston Jr.: Threat to personal fortunes prod Weston family to open up about Loblaw finances
LOBLAWS LIKES TO CHEAT US. They might do it with a price-fixing scam on bread. Or they might just decide not to pay taxes on all the money them make off us. They did both for years. But the jig is up on the bread scam and it may soon be up on the tax cheating scam.
The Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) has charged Loblaw with tax cheating. The agency alleges the company set up a phony bank in Barbados to hide millions in income from our taxman.
A guilty verdict could cost the grocery giant as much as $404 million, including interest and penalties.
Here’s how Loblaws ran its scam.
- In the early 1990s, Loblaws applied for a banking licence for its subsidiary in Barbados, and changed the company’s name to Glenhuron Bank Ltd.
- Loblaws funded Glenhuron Bank with money from its global operations.
- Glenhuron would then invest the money in financial derivatives, making hundreds of millions in the process.
If Glenhuron was a real bank their profits would be legally tax exempt in Canada.
But the Canadian Revenue Agency argues the exemption should not apply. It argues Glenhuron was not a real bank, but merely a vehicle to organize a tax avoidance scheme—a scam.
The CRA discovered that Loblaws stashed away more than $400 million in tax revenues in Barbados.
Information about the tax cheating scam has been around since 2015. Over the past year, Loblaws has been doing its best to slow down the CRA’s legal proceedings. Only after the tax authorities threatened to go after the parent company’s billionaire CEO Galen Weston did Loblaws hand over more details about its operations.
Cheating us all big time
Cheating on your taxes is often called a “victimless crime.” But it is not. Any more than any other corporate or “white collar” crime is.
Cheating on your taxes is cheating all of us. It means the programs we need and want in Canada get shortchanged—and people get hurt.
How many public sector workers were thrown out of a job because of Loblaws tax cheating? What about the thousands of homeless people across Canada who can’t get adequate government assistance to put a roof over their heads? And how many families are having to do without essential services like home care for elderly loved ones, childcare, or mental health support due to the refusal of Loblaws and other corporate crooks to do what we all do: namely, pay our fair share?