The “Sir” David Beckham Controversy: Knighthood, Tax Evasion, What Canada Should Do?


This story is of great interest to me because it covers many areas which I feel passionate about. Taxes, Sports, Canada, and Social Media.

In this case, David Beckham, the former Manchester United and Real Madrid star, and husband to former Spice Girl Victoria was denied knighthood for his involvement in a tax avoidance scheme, however the presence of some leaked emails have really stirred the pot recently and caused damage to the Beckham brand.

A Unicef goodwill ambassador since 2005 – Beckham is furious that the leaked emails appear to show him as cynically using his charity work to curry favour with the honours committee and identifies his frustration with having to kiss up to the Queen in order to achieve his knighthood.

He is also furious that they depict him as demanding money from the United Nations children’s charity to pay for flights and hotels to visit its projects with children in places such as the Philippines and in one email he apparently complained about being asked to match the highest bidders at a Unicef auction in New York, stating: “Chloe asked me an outright which I was p***** . . . I don’t want to do it and won’t do it with my own money.”

He comes across as a petulant child.

The hacked emails were obtained by website Football Leaks which had, up to now, focused on exposing players’ contracts and third-party ownership arrangements considered illegal by FIFA.

Beckham and his advisors knew about the existence of these emails last year, and had obtained an injunction preventing a major British newspaper and others from publishing the information. Beckham was also the subject of blackmail, with the perpetrator asking for $1-million dollars from “Becks” in order to prevent the emails from becoming public.

The email hack is believed that have been executed on a server associated with Simon Oliveira – Beckham’s communications spokesperson – in 2015. The 2 had worked together for more than a decade.

Oliveira was also the spokesperson for another tax cheat, former Tennis player Boris Becker, which might be a coincidence, or might not.

In 2002, Becker became a convicted criminal after judges found him guilty of tax evasion. Becker was given a stiff punishment: a two-year prison sentence, suspended for three years, a 500,000 euro (£315,000) fine, and the entire cost of his trial after he pleaded guilty to evading about 1.7m euros tax by claiming to live in the “offshore” haven of Monte Carlo at a time when his main residence was really in Munich.

Beckham was nominated for knighthood by the head of the London 2012 Olympic Organizing Committee, Lord Sebastian Coe, however UK Tax authorities, HM Revenue and Customs, flagged Beckham’s involvement during a screening process and it seems that it was enough to block the proposal.

The couple got caught up in a £434million tax avoidance dispute.

Over a decade ago the Beckhams joined Inside Track Productions LLP, set up by notorious investment firm Ingenious.

David went on to invest in two further Ingenious tax schemes in 2005 and 2006. Along with 140 other Inside Track Productions investors, the couple have been hit with tax demands by HMRC.

Ingenious invested hundreds of millions of pounds through schemes aimed at backing the British film industry.

But the company claimed £1.6billion in losses – and clients, who were made partners of limited liability partnerships, were lawfully able to write off any losses from the schemes against their other income. Companies House records show Victoria and David are still listed as members of the LLP.

After a tax tribunal ruling last year, investors in Ingenious schemes have faced a bill for £434million in unpaid tax plus interest. Ingenious, of course, denies HMRC’s allegations and the sides are still in a legal dispute.

HMRC boss Jennie Granger said: “The schemes involved people claiming far more in tax than they invested.”

So what should Canada do, and how does this impact us?

Well, if the UK offers knighthood to their top political donators, and famous people around the world and it is viewed as an honour, its’ about time for Canada to step up to the plate and recognize our elites and respected Canadians.

Since “Sir” is already taken, we should consider another honour, maybe adding “Eh?” after someone’s name. So once the tax matters are resolved, someone like David Beckham could become David Beckham, eh?  That’s 100% Canadian!  And… If he gets his tax problems resolved, and his knighthood, he could become Sir David Beckham, eh?

Pretty awesome!

 

The moral of the story is this:

Pay your taxes, don’t slag people in emails, and be kind to everyone, all the time!

“Super”Bowl Thoughts from my Kids


We watched most of the Super Bowl yesterday which would represent a first for my middle and suddenly sporty son.  He has had zero interest in football prior to yesterday – and to be honest – he watched it because of the commercials and the Lady Gaga half-time show.

Here are his thoughts of the game;

  1. Why don’t they show the commercials here in Canada?  What a scam!
  2. If the NFL is worried about concussions, why do they allow players to hit someone head first.  If they were really concerned, they would toss all players who hit with their heads, or hit someone in the head.
  3. NFL does not stand for “No Farting League” as I told his sister.  I suggested “No Farting Ladies” but my wise 7-year-old countered with “No Farting Lads”!
  4. When asked who would win, he said “New Zealand”.
  5. When asked which state Boston is in, he said “New York”.
  6. After realizing that Ottawa was in Ontario, he wondered out loud if Canada consisted of Ontario and Quebec – to which I said; “And that is why Western Canada hates Toronto, my son!”  Plus we’ve all been to the East Coast of Canada.
  7. Why is Tom Brady’s wife cheering into her cell phone – taking selfies instead of celebrating with the rest of the people in the press box?
  8. Lady Gaga was incredible!  On the roof, jumping from the roof, singing, not singing, all in those high-heels.  She totally rocked and was a true highlight of the night.
  9. He felt because the game was played in a neutral location (Texas) the sounds from the stands sounded canned and phony.  He said they might as well have played the game in an empty stadium and played a cheering sound track along with the game.
  10. Why does the NFL need their championship trophy to be “Super”?  Why is the Stanley Cup not named the Super Cup and why does the winning team receive the Vince Lombardi trophy when they win???  Where is the bowl???
  11. Why isn’t there a team in Toronto?
  12. Since no team had even overcome a 10-point deficit and there had been no overtime games in the league’s 51-year history, and with New England (or New Zealand, New York) losing 28-3 at half-time – my kids assumed it was over for the Pats.  Upon learning of the Falcon loss, my son’s response was the always classic, “Whoa!”.
  13. Upon hearing that Tom Brady was being regarded as the best quarterback in the history of the NFL, my son quipped; “I think he is, because he’s the only quarterback I know, and he won the game.”
  14. Where are the damn commercials???

 

So I think this was a success, and even though he doesn’t know all the rules, or where the teams play, him, his sister and their older brother enjoyed the half-time show more than anything.

“Can you take me to a concert?” was the post-game cry from the kids…

… and sign me up for lacrosse.

Only in Canada, eh?

104th Grey Cup: Redblacks Vs. Stampeders… WOW.


The 104th Grey Cup was held here in Toronto yesterday, at BMO field, home of the TFC, and all I can say was WOW.

The CFL may not be on the radar for everyone but this league knows how to put on an event, and both the Ottawa Redblacks’ players and the Calgary Stampeders players put on quite the show.

The game ended with the Redblacks winning their first championship since 1976 after a thrilling 39-33 OT win.

Unlike that championship game held south of the boarder, the Grey Cup games are usually quite exciting and a great showcase for the league and it never gets enough press or fanfare, which is sad.

Congratulations to the Redblacks and to the CFL for putting on a great event and for building a fast, skilled, talented league!

The World Series Starts Tonight! Which Jinx Ends?!?


So the World Series begins tonight in Chicago as the Chicago Cubs who last won the World Series in 1908, face the team from Cleveland (team name omitted on purpose) who last won the Fall Classic in 1948.

Contrary to the belief of my children, neither myself nor my pet dinosaur were alive when the Cubs were last named World Champions.

As a diehard Toronto Blue Jays fan, I could vote for Cleveland because they eliminated Toronto, or I could vote for the Cubbies and their poor, suffering fans.  The Cleveland Cavaliers of the National Basketball Association also eliminated the Toronto Raptors from the NBA playoffs so I have reason to hate Cleveland, but then again the poor City finally got one World Champion so another in the same year would be wonderful for them, right?!?

Of note in this series, is which team will have the jinx removed from their franchise.  The Cubs were jinxed because of some goat, while the Cleveland team was really jinxed by a Native American group who disapproved of their use of team name, logo and mascot.

The Cubs curse is known as “The Curse of the Billy Goat” and was put in the team in 1945 by the owner of the Billy Goat Tavern. Apparently he used to bring his goat to the games at Wrigley Field in Chicago and the odor (not Roughned) of his pet goat, Murphy, was bothering other fans so he was asked to leave the park during game 4 of the 1945 World Series.

While leaving, the Tavern owner declared “Them Cubs, they ain’t gonna win no more”, and they didn’t, losing the 1945 World Series to the Detroit Tigers and then never making it back until this season – 46 years after the death of the Tavern’s owner.

Now, the Cleveland curse is quite different.

Some may say the curse on the Cleveland came from trading star players after star player, however, the curse on the team stems from the teams name, “Indians”, which originated from a request by then club owner Charles Somers to baseball writers to choose a new name to replace the current team name, the “Cleveland Naps” following the departure of Nap Lajoie after the 1914 season.

“Indians” was chosen because writers used to call the Cleveland Spiders baseball club, the “Indians” in reference to a Native American player named Louis Sockalexis.

The team is also referred to as the “Tribe” and their “mascot” Chief Wahoo (who is actually a Brave because Chief’s have a many feathers).

The team itself, began playing organized ball in 1894 in Michigan, as the Grand Rapids Rustlers. The team moved to Cleveland in 1900, changing their name to the Lake Shores.

It has been said that until Cleveland change their team name and use of Chief Wahoo, the team will be forever jinxed.

Either way, one of these jinx’s will end at the conclusion of the World Series.

My 11-year-old son was wondering what it was like watching baseball back in 1908.  There was no TV, no way to broadcast the games, certainly no way for someone in another country to learn of the game or the results from so far away.

He was thinking about what it would have been like to have been a young boy in Poland, where his now 100-year-old grandfather grew up and eventually had to flee for his life from the Nazis before making his way to North America, then to Canada.

Baseball, eh?

Hard to think about baseball when Nazi’s chase you from your home, kill everyone in your family, then give your home and your belongings to others.

Life goes on.

A curse will end.

Interesting perspective from an 11-year-old.