Businessmen from around the world flocked to British Columbia in the late 1980s and early 1990s, attracted by its close proximity to Silicon Valley and the relative youth of its entrepreneurs. They came to do business and generally enjoyed a tax break, but there was one caveat.
After examining records on Mr. Coulter’s offshore deal, Canada’s Revenue Agency sent out letters to 492 people, warning that they had violated tax laws by buying tickets for his party at California’s Raiders stadium in 1986. Mr. Coulter and his partners had not been paying taxes on what had been described as a gift. By filing the letters, the agency told Mr. Coulter to fix his mistake. So he had his accountant transfer him about $300,000 in cash to a Swiss bank account, then change the address on the checks to Canada and name a trust company that used offshore money to buy raffle tickets.
While Canada’s investigation was focused on the money transfers, officials noticed that the tickets purchased were a reasonable sized amount. It also turned out that Mr. Coulter, who had developed a software business and closed his company in 1996, was the owner of a company called Stationary Systems Ltd. Using this company, he leased the stadium, and was also using the purchase of the tickets to defraud his own country, according to the documents obtained by The Globe and Mail.
“In effect, he got involved in a network of banks outside the country, borrowed money from the banks to buy the raffle tickets, and then sold the tickets for cash in Canada,” a senior investigator with Canada’s Revenue Agency told the newspaper.
The new documents indicate that Mr. Coulter and his suspected accomplices used offshore money as well as accounts at Canadian banks to buy tickets. His hand-picked directors at the companies behind the raffle included former political operatives, a real estate developer, and the former president of B.C.’s forestry industry, according to other documents obtained by The Globe.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canadian Revenue Agency and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation said in a joint statement Friday that the RCMP was “investigating corruption and related matters and expects to lay charges, once the investigation is complete.”
None of the allegations in the new information about Mr. Coulter has been proven in court.