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?
The moral of the story is this:
Pay your taxes, don’t slag people in emails, and be kind to everyone, all the time!