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Caisse de Depot et placement du Québec is increasingly legitimizing tax havens

Caisse de depot et placement is still very fond of tax havens.

And it continues to invest more than twenty billion dollars there in more than 150 companies and funds registered in these low-tax countries!

At least that’s what I was able to “calculate” from a tracking process in the extensive list of 3,800 investments that Caisse de dépôt has just published in the document Additional Information for the 2022 Annual Report.

Lack of transparency

This list includes nearly 3,000 investments in stocks of listed companies and bonds issued in public markets, and 800 investments in stocks, bonds and debts of companies issued in private markets.

Under current President Charles Emond, Caisse has decided not to publish the detailed list of its investments in tax havens any longer. So I relied on old lists produced under his predecessor Michael Sabella to identify Caisse’s 3,800 investments in 2022 related to companies and funds registered in tax havens.

facing parliamentarians

To show how uninterested Charles Emond is in the lists of investments linked to tax havens, here is the information he sent to parliamentarians last year.

As to the question of opposition party members about the value and detail of Caisse de dépôt’s contributions to tax havens or low-tax jurisdictions, during the last appearance of Caisse de dépôt et placement before the Public Finance Committee in the year, Charles Emond was persuaded to present a table not on tax havens, but on Supervised investments by country of incorporation.

Seven exporting countries were targeted.

What information did we find in this table? Distribution among each of the seven countries involved a total of $3.2 billion in investments with an effective tax rate of less than 15%.

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be careful ! As surprising as it may sound, of the seven exporting countries targeted, only two were tax havens.

What’s more, the problem investments in Caisse’s eyes amounted to just $67.5 million in the Cayman Islands and $98 million in Bermuda. Small amounts to compare with the amount of “supervised investments” found in the other countries mentioned in the table, including $1.56 billion in the United States, $729 million in the United Kingdom, and $545 million in Canada.

As you can see, Caisse feels pretty comfortable with the 150 investments she owns in tax havens.

But more so with investing in a “free zone” where zero tax is charged.

A stunning statement from Emond

Charles Emond responded to my colleague Francis Hallen, who asked him whether the $2.5 billion investment by Caisse de depot and investment in the Jebel Ali Free Zone in the UAE was in line with Caisse’s commitments.

“It is a different element than having a tax haven in the Cayman Islands,” he added, adding that Jebel Ali Port has a “government policy to attract investment.”

The reaction of expert Alain Denault, author of the book Tax Havens: The Canadian Channel About the fund’s investment in Jebel Ali: “We play with words. It is a jurisdiction that allows for tax dumping. When the Quebec government’s financial body endorses this type of policy, it harms a state like Quebec itself.”

When Caisse’s big boss finds out that 0% tax in a free zone has nothing to do with a tax haven, let’s agree it’s reassuring for businesses looking for strict tax planning.!