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Gildan’s ex-CEO tax problems | Revolving doors of a former lawyer in Revenu Québec

The attorney just hired by former T-shirt mogul Greg Chamande to represent him against Revenu Québec arrives straight…from Revenu Québec.

As of October, Matthew Gendron was still one of the agency’s experts at uncovering arrangements that allow for tax avoidance.

Then go to BCF Corporation. In December, he then accepted a mandate as legal counsel to the former CEO of Gildan Sportswear, in the context of a lawsuit against his former tax colleagues claiming more than $10 million from him.

Matthew Gendron is on familiar ground in the Chamandi accounts. Because this tax expert is on his second trip back and forth between private practice and Revenu Québec. According to his statement in court, he worked with him in all the companies he went to.

When the tax authorities conducted their first audit of Chamande’s accounts, Mathieu Gendron was even in charge of his file at Heenan Blaikie, until 2014, before joining Revenu Québec.

“I was one of those involved in all the discussions and all the planning. That, there is no doubt about it,” Matthew Gendron testified on February 6 during a hearing on the postponement of the trial of the businessman against the tax authorities.

His walk astounded the judge in charge of the case in a Quebec court.

“I am amazed that such a thing is possible. But we have to think that we shouldn’t be surprised by a lot of things today,” said Daniel Bourgeois.

Matthew Gendron declined to answer our questions about his back and forth between the private sector and the tax authorities. “I have no comment on that,” he said.

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call him JournalismBCF did not respond to our questions.

to save a millionaire

Tuesday, Journalism He reported on the significant problems that the ex-president of Gildan has had with Revenu Québec since 2015. The agency has refused him a 65.8 million deduction for financial losses and expenses claimed in the context of “alleged investments”, which include in particular his private bank in Barbados. On January 31, Miller-Thompson’s former attorneys asked him to withdraw from the case. Chamandi then tried to defer the trial to the Court of Appeal but to no avail.

On Feb. 6, the businessman told a Quebec court that Miller-Thompson had “grossly neglected” some aspects of his tax package, according to an investigation by Matthew Gendron. Chamandi finally gets a reprieve from his trial, which is when the new tax experts handle his case.

From Chamandi to IRS, to Chamandi, to IRS… to Chamandi

Matthew Gendron has told in court how his career has repeatedly thrown him between the public and the private.

After the Heenan Blaikie law firm dissolved in 2014, he found himself in Revenu Québec. Then, in April 2016, he returned to the private sector: he then joined Deloitte, taking on assignments with Chamandy.

Image from the Liquid Nutrition Facebook page

Greg Chamandi

“It wasn’t conclusive, so I left after eight months,” he explained in court.

Then he went back to the tax department, to the aggressive tax planning and integrity research branch, until last October.

During cross-examination, Mathieu Gendron asserted that he had “no involvement in Mr. Chamande’s files” when he worked in Revigno-Quebec. “And then I want to make it clear: my colleagues knew I was acting like him, so no one told me about it.”

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Revenu Québec refused to take calls from Journalism in this subject. In an email, agency spokeswoman Mylene Gagnon notes that according to the agency’s code of ethics, those leaving must “behave in a manner that does not take undue advantage of the jobs they have already taken.”

She also adds that they also cannot “advise anyone based on information that is not publicly available regarding Revino-Quebec.” “Any person who does not comply with this law exposes himself to measures or recourse.”

There is no easy solution

For tax expert and professor at Laval University André Laroux, the situation of Mathieu Gendron “sends chills in the back”.

To avoid similar situations, he does not see a simple solution. The professor compares the post-employment rules included in the National Society’s Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. In particular, they banned a former minister from “interfering on behalf of others” with “a government entity with which he has official, direct and significant relations” last year.

If Mathieu Gendron imposed such a rule on himself as a lawyer, he could not intervene with Revenu Québec. “But you also have to view the law and taxes as a livelihood, not as a cause to be embraced,” says André Laroux.

Marie-Soleye Tremblay, a professor at the National School of Public Administration, believes that “in theory”, this back-and-forth should not happen. But she doesn’t just see the flaws.

“Having a strong layout certainly gives him an edge in the private sector,” she said. On the other hand, the fact that the private sector moved twice to Revenu Québec certainly also provided information to feed into the agency’s strategies. »

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Zero contribution goal

One thing is for sure, Chamandi has every reason to be happy that he found his former tax professional. “With his strategy, he assured me that we would reduce the contributions to zero,” he said in court.

On February 6, he represented businessman Dani Gallarno, of Cain Lamarre.

Before leaving to work in the private sector, he also worked in Revenu Québec, as a litigator, from 2017 to 2019.

Mathieu Gendron, between Chamande and Revigno-Quebec

2003: Mathieu Gendron begins working with Greg Chamandy in Hart, Saint-Pierre.

2006: Hart-Saint-Pierre joins Henin-Blaiki. Mathieu Gendron tracks and keeps clients of Chamandy.

2014: Heenan Blaikie disbanded. Mathieu Gendron joins Revenu Québec as a tax attorney for the first time.

April 2016: Left Deloitte Canada tax department.

December 2016: a trial that did not prove “inconclusive” according to his explanations in court, he returned to Revenu Québec, where he joined the department of integrity research and aggressive tax planning.

October 2022: Left the tax office again to join BCF.

December 2022: Signs a new legal advisor contract with Chamandi.

January 2023: Miller Thompson withdraws from the businessman’s profile.

February 6, 2023: Judge Daniel Bourgeois adjourns Chamande’s trial to allow him to prepare new arguments, with assistance from Matthew Gendron.

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  • 7.1 billion
    How much Canada loses due to tax evasion and evasion each year, according to the Tax Justice Network.

    Source: Tax Justice Network