Manitoba

Pallister owns 2 companies in Costa Rica; NDP wants to know why public wasn't told

Manitoba PC Leader Brian Pallister’s publicly disclosed assets are making headlines this weekend in the Costa Rica Star, an English-language news source in the country.

He conducts no business and owns no revenue-generating property in Costa Rica: PC spokesperson

Before Manitobans vote on April 19, NDP candidate Dave Chomiak says Manitoba Progressive Conservative Leader Brian Pallister needs to come clean about his dealings in Costa Rica. 3:40

Before Manitobans vote on April 19, NDP candidate Dave Chomiak says Manitoba Progressive Conservative Leader Brian Pallister needs to come clean about his dealings in Costa Rica.

Chomiak, who's a long-time NDP cabinet minister, says Pallister "got caught" in inconsistencies between what he has stated publicly about his assets and what is disclosed in public records from Costa Rica.
PC Leader Brian Pallister owns two companies, and the NDP are questioning why he didn't disclose that publicly when he disclosed the fact he has a vacation home and bank account in Costa Rica. (CBC)

"Brian Pallister has to tell us today the whole truth, so that he does not get caught again before an election," said Chomiak in a press conference on Sunday morning.

Pallister has been ahead in the polls in Manitoba`s election and looked set to unseat Greg Selinger as premier on Tuesday.

The criticism from the NDP comes in the wake of a Costa Rica Star report which listed Pallister's companies and assets in the Central American country.

Pallister owns two companies and the NDP are questioning why he didn't disclose that publicly when he disclosed the fact he has a vacation home and bank account in Costa Rica.

A week ago in the wake of the Panama Papers, NDP leader Selinger released his income tax statements and challenged the other party leaders to do the same. Pallister refused, but did state he owned a vacation home in Costa Rica and a bank account.

More questions came up about how much time Pallister spends at the legislature. Since becoming PC party leader in 2012, he has been in Costa Rica 240 days.

Pallister is listed as president of the company Finca Deneter Doce Sociedad Anonima, which owns three pieces of land in the coastal area of Tamarindo on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica.

His wife, Esther, is the secretary, according to Costa Rican records. One parcel of land is slightly more than two acres, another is 5.7 acres and one more is 5.4 acres.

A PC spokesperson says the party disputes the accuracy of the Costa Rican newspaper story.

"Brian Pallister has already responded at length to this Costa Rican newspaper story, going so far as to actually correct information by confirming an additional parcel of land as part of the same property," said PC spokesperson Ross Romaniuk in an email Sunday.

"This is yet another desperate Selinger NDP attempt to distract from the issues that really matter to Manitobans."

PC spokesperson Olivia Billson said it is common practice`` for foreigners to own land and vehicles through companies in Costa Rica in an email statement Saturday night. 

"Mr. Pallister saved for 30 years to purchase a vacation property in Costa Rica. The property consists of four parcels of land. One contains his vacation home, the others are pasture and grassland," Billson said. 

"Mr. Pallister conducts no business activity in Costa Rica and owns no revenue generating property," said Billson, adding that Pallister owns two companies and the sole purpose of both is to own this land and two used vehicles.

Real estate experts in Costa Rica confirm people routinely purchase assets through corporations.

NDP calls on Pallister to 'come clean'

"The public of Manitoba needs to know why he is so inconsistent," said Chomiak.

"What he did not tell you was that he had two holding companies, a car and three other pieces of land. If that is not an outright lie, it is a deliberate attempt to mislead."
NDP candidate Dave Chiomiak says Brian Pallister "got caught" in inconsistencies between what he has stated publicly and what is disclosed in public records from Costa Rica. (CBC)

Pallister earlier told the Winnipeg Free Press that he owns one car, but he also owns a used mid-size four-wheel drive vehicle and an all-terrain vehicle in Costa Rica, according to records obtained by CBC with the help of Costa Rican news service DataBaseAR.

The Costa Rica documents have revealed inconsistencies between what Pallister told journalists and his actual vacation habits.

He told the Winnipeg Free Press he was at a wedding during the height of Manitoba's 2014 flood without disclosing he also went on a two-week getaway to Costa Rica during that time. And, just over a week ago, Pallister was asked about last time he left the country.

Pallister answered he went to Maida, N.D., in fall 2015. But travel records show he was in Costa Rica for 25 days over this past Christmas and New Year's and another 11 days at the end of January and into February 2016.

"I got it wrong," said Pallister on Friday when asked whether he should apologize for the inconsistencies.

with files from Sean Kavanagh, Katie Nicholson and Vera-Lynn Kubinec

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