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Businessman charged with bribing CRA officials to evade $6-million in taxes

The Canada Revenue Agency.

Francis Vachon/The Canadian Press

The RCMP has charged a businessman with bribery and fraud in relation to alleged efforts to evade $6-million in taxes with the complicity of officials at the Canada Revenue Agency.

Reza Tehrani is facing 13 charges of conspiracy, fraud and bribery of public officers, while his spouse, Liora Suissa, is facing five similar charges.

Mr. Tehrani is a controversial businessman in Montreal who went through a bizarre and unsolved kidnapping incident in 2010. He said at the time that the kidnappers were seeking a ransom, given his own lavish lifestyle.

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"The way they were talking, it was a talk that I hear every day: 'Oh, you are so rich. You are driving a Bentley. You are driving a Ferrari. You don't share your wealth,'" Mr. Tehrani told the CBC at the time.

According to the RCMP, Mr. Tehrani sought the complicity of CRA employees to "reduce his tax burden and that of his companies, the Institut Technique Aviron and L.R. Print Sol." Mr. Tehrani also allegedly sought to obtain tax credits for his personal benefit from a controversial R&D program within CRA.

The charges are part of the RCMP's massive investigation into allegations of corruption at the Canada Revenue Agency. The project is ongoing, but at this point, nine people have been charged as part of Project Coche.

In recent search warrants, the RCMP has alleged that other CRA officials helped firms in Quebec's construction industry evade taxes. The RCMP has also alleged in search warrants that CRA officials received gifts or compensation from a construction firm, including free home renovations, trips to Las Vegas and the Bahamas, and an upscale evening at a Montreal Canadiens home game.

So far, the CRA has fired at least seven auditors and team leaders as part of the ongoing investigation.

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