CRA takes a beating from the Hells Angels

Hells Angels beat the taxman

B.C. bikers settle lawsuit; financial data is secure

Kim Bolan, Canwest News Service

Published: Monday, July 21, 2008

VANCOUVER — Dozens of high-profile B.C. Hells Angels, along with their associates, wives and girlfriends, have succeeded in getting the taxman to withdraw demands for detailed financial information about their earnings and assets, including assets “hidden” outside the country, Canwest News Service has learned.

The Hells Angels’ two-year court battle apparently has inspired a similar tactic by the notorious United Nations gang, which is also challenging demand letters issued by the Canada Revenue Agency.

Both cases allege police and the revenue agency colluded and improperly shared information as part of a strategy to target the proceeds of organized crime.

Forty-two related Hells Angels cases were originally filed in August 2006 by full-patch members of the bikers’ chapters — the Nomads, Vancouver, East End, Haney, Mission City, White Rock and Nanaimo, according to documents obtained by Canwest.

The cases were consolidated and a new statement of claim filed against the government last January.

In the Federal Court case against the minister of national revenue, the statement of claim says Brian Airth, listed as a full-patch Haney Angel, and others linked to the motorcycle gang want a declaration that the revenue agency “has engaged in a continuing course of illegal conduct by targeting the plaintiffs through an initiative variously known as ‘Project MOGAL,’ the ‘Hells Angels Project’ or the ‘HA Project.’ ”

The claim, filed by Vancouver lawyer David Martin, says the Angels want a declaration that the Canada Revenue Agency violated the Income Tax Act by passing confidential information to “third parties, including the police.”

They allege their charter rights were violated by the Canada Revenue Agency letters sent out between 2004 and 2006.

An out-of-court agreement was reached on the day the Federal Court challenge was to be heard this spring.

The Canada Revenue Agency backed down and revoked “the letters of requirement,” and the case was withdrawn.

Neither Justice Department lawyers, nor the lawyer for the Hells Angels, could be reached for comment.

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