Tax evasion charges against former Calgary MP Rob Anders dropped on day one of trial


All charges against former Calgary MP Rob Anders have been dropped on what was expected to be the first day of a two-week tax evasion trial.

Prosecutor Tyler Lord appeared in Calgary Provincial Court on Monday and told Judge Heather Lamoureux that the Crown had stayed all charges.

“Last week, new information came to my attention, the review of which has led me to believe that I no longer have a reasonable prospect of conviction,” Lord said in a statement provided to CBC News.

Outside the courtroom, Anders’ attorney Paul Brunnen told reporters his client was “very relieved.”

When the Crown stays a charge, prosecutors have one year to reopen the case, but this rarely happens.

As of Monday, Anders faced five counts under the Income Tax Act for alleged activities between 2012 and 2018, including three counts of making false or misleading statements, obtained a reimbursement to which he was not entitled and evaded payment of taxes.

Anders was charged with failing to report more than $750,000 in income over a six-year period, including alleged offenses that overlapped with his tenure in government.

Convictions carry maximum penalties of two years in prison and fines ranging from 50 to 200 percent of the taxes evaded.

Police and court documents allege fraudulent rental expenses, mystery deposits, and $750,000 in unreported income and capital gains hidden from the CRA by Anders.

Past controversies

The 50-year-old who helped found the Conservative Party of Canada, held his seat in Calgary from 1997 to 2015, first for the Reform Party and then for the CPC.

In 2014, when Anders lost the nomination battle to Ron Liepert in the riding of Calgary Signal Hill, ending an 18-year term as an MP, he said his only regret was that his government failed. did not reduce taxes further.

Anders supported the Harper government’s initiatives to provide various tax relief to Canadians. He was also a strong supporter of the abolition of the GST.

Ahead of the 2014 nomination battle, then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper pointed out that Anders had voted for more than 160 tax cuts since his election.

Controversy seemed to follow Anders when he was an MP. The fervent anti-abortionist has twice fallen asleep on the job, called Nelson Mandela a “terrorist” and was kicked off the Veterans Affairs committee after controversial comments about the NDP.

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