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!


Here’s How Halloween went in the Urban Daddy Household

Halloween has come and gone and now I am left with 11 pumpkins on my front steps, a bunch of cold wet decorations and I am 3 pounds fatter because of all the mini-chocolate bars I have eaten this past week as meal replacements.

But as this Halloween clean-up begins, I look back at what was a memorable night last night, and even further back at my own Halloween adventures as a sheltered kid living in the north end of this city.

With all 5 of us getting over some nasty flu-like symptoms for the better part of a month, I wondered how tonight was going to play out (October 31st). In the morning we say our first taste of Toronto-winter, with snow flurries and it was quite cold.

As it got closer to 6pm, we got all the kids fed – tons of veggies! – and into their costumes. Linus was a skunk, Stewie a monkey (although he told me earlier in the day – while in costume – that he was a lion, and he even growled at car, until I pointed out he had a banana in his pocket – he was not happy to see me – and monkeys have bananas, not lions). Whew. Berry wore the same elephant costume that the boys each wore when they were babies.

Linus’ friend came by with his parents and the plan was for all of us to walk together for 30 minutes, then Urban Mummy and Berry would come home and give out candy, while the boys and I trudged on.

Last year, Linus lasted 45 minutes until he was exhausted, while Stewie went for 1 1/2 hours. That kid loves to eat and when he realized that he could knock on people’s doors and get candy, he did NOT want to stop.

This year, Urban Mummy took the boys with Linus’ friends and parents and I sat on the front steps (on a blanket) with my little elephant and we greeted the kids, neighbours and friends and gave out a TON of candy. Our new neighbourhood has a ton of kids, and many houses with some pretty exciting decorations.

I turned on some scary music / pictures on my laptop, gave Berry 2 mini-boxes of smarties to shake, and we gave out all of the candy we had bought (less what piggie-me ate), in addition to ALL the candy the kids collected to the throngs of children and young adults who came to our house.

Sitting outside allowed me to meet neighbours and see cool costumes and teach Berry how to say “pumpkin” which she did once only. Urban Mummy, however taught her to say “elephant”… Nice.

Here are some of my observations from our new neighbourhood – being the father of 3 kids dressed up for the beg-for-candy fest.

1) The first 4 kids that came to our house declined the candy and asked for “nut-free” treats instead. Fortunately, some of the candy-bars are nut-free and this was acceptable. So I found myself asking each child for the rest of the night if they required nut-free treats or not.

2) Kids were both polite and cautious. Pretty much each child came with a parent and said thank you. They looked both ways while crossing the street and if asked if they wanted more candy later in the night, politely declined and moved on.

3) After a successful night, we turned off the decorations and all the lights in the house so we could put Berry to sleep – while would tell me if I was a kid, to find a better house, yet some 15 year old kids in “costume” still rang the doorbell expecting treats… Dumb dumbs.

4) As a kid, I remember my Dad taking my sister and I to the house on the corner that gave away pads of paper and pencils. He would take us there many times per night until the owner would dump a lot in our bag (while probably mumbling for us to go away). Looking back now, that was pretty weird, even odder is the fact that I saw some of those pads still in my Mother’s house the other day…

5) Growing up we used to look at what we were given and comment. Kids these days don’t care. They load up and go to the next house. It’s quantify, not quality. If you recall my post from last year, the neighbourhood we hit had large, very expensive homes and the kids only got one small treat per house. This time around they got more and had to be out less.

6) By 8pm, my boys were so done, that they ran up and down the driveway yelling for “guests” to come so they could give them candy. Linus actually tracked down 2 parents walking a dog and gave them each 3 mini-candy bars for their troubles.

7) I now have 10 pumpkins to carve / cook with as is tradition every year. So lots of seeds and lots of pumpkins… Yum.

8) Need to look now for decorations for next year. Urban Mummy wants a giant spider and I want some headstones and something that makes noise. We used to have a ghost that moved in the wind but it’s nowhere to be found!

9) Every year now, we ask our kids to give us all their candy at the end of the night – we are a treat-free family – and in exchange we trade for a toy. So the boys easily handed over their half-bag of candy for a zhou zhou pet and cage within minutes of getting home. This avoids the need to eat all the candy at once and essentially the kids eat a treat a night for the week then it’s done.

I actually offered up my suggestion to Erica Ehm, on Twitter last night, her of the Yummy Mummy Club – formerly one of the first VJ’s on Much Music in Canada. She re-tweeted it to all her followers.

Aw, shucks.

It’s totally an Urban Mummy initiative, I just happen to think it’s brilliant and want to share it with others!

10) After the nut-free situation was revealed to me, my 4-year-old commented that many kids were carrying two bags with them. “It’s for perishable items needed for the food bank”, the boys responded. “Unparashible?” I replied, “Yeah, that’s it” said the boy. Having nothing, I offered him a pumpkin… “Nut-free AND edible!” I boasted.
“No thanks”, he shot back as the group made their way down the stairs and off to the next house.

So what was memorable on your Halloween?