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The names of some well-known Alberta energy companies and even nonprofits have surfaced in the massive Panama Papers database, but are not related to Canadian operations.
According to a database released on Monday by the the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, known for reporting on the Panama Papers leak, "Encana Energy S.A." set up an offshore company in the Virgin Islands and in Panama. "Alberta Oilsands Inc" is named as an "officer" in the documents, and an entity named "Great Harvest Oilsands Company Ltd," is listed as an offshore corporation in the Virgin Islands. Big industry giants aren't the only ones whose names appeared in the database. Names of nonprofits such as "Greenpeace International" and "Nature Conservancy" also appeared, though they also asserted they aren't connected to the entry.
Encana gave an updated response to the National Observer's media request on Tuesday. After an initial response of "no comment" on Monday, spokesperson Jay Averill said: "We did some additional research and have determined that the Encana Energy S.A. entity has no affiliation with our company."
Enbridge also confirmed that even though an offshore entity called "Enbridge Finance" appears in the database, the Calgary-based Enbridge in fact has no connection with this entity.
Greenpeace International spokesperson Mike Townsley responded:
"In searching the offshore leaks database, 'Greenpeace International' can be found as a beneficiary of something called the Exodus Trust. Greenpeace International has checked its financial records and has found no mention of a donation from Exodus Trust. Finance checks confirm no such income from 2007 onwards, as far back as our records go and further beyond where we are legally required to keep records. Greenpeace has a strict policy that it does not accept donations from governments, corporations or political parties to maintain its independence, and screens gifts from private foundations or individuals of over EUR 5,000 to try to ensure they do not conflict with our principles."
Although the companies and nonprofits named in the database say there is no connection, there is no evidence to suggest the any of the companies or nonprofits listed have done anything illegal. In fact, some of the financial statements of companies like Enbridge suggest they are paying more than their fair share of taxes both in Canada and abroad.
Other spokespeople have been reached and a response is pending.
The Panama Papers, reported by ICIJ last month, reveals the names of over 200,000 individuals and corporations in the biggest-ever leak of records from an offshore haven. The online database contains information on almost 320,000 offshore entities that are part of the Panama Papers and the Offshore Leaks investigations, with data spanning nearly four decades, showing links to people and companies in over 200 countries and territories.
More on this to come.
UPDATE May 10, 2016: Enbridge confirmed it has nothing to do with "Enbridge Finance" listed in the database. Encana Energy and Greenpeace International also said it was not connected to the entry.