Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Brian Mulroney's Foul Stench

He's tried just about everything to make the Airbus scandal go away. He threatened journalists. He's bobbed and weaved at every turn. He even bluffed the federal government out of nearly $2-million in damages for his "injured reputation." Yet the Airbus scandal remains a millstone firmly attached to Brian Mulroney's neck and he refuses to take the few simple steps he needs to free himself of it.

An interesting rehash of the known dealings between Mulroney, Karlheinz Schreiber, the CBC and others can be found in today's Globe and Mail. The focus of attention is the $300,000 Mulroney now admits he received from Karlheinz Schreiber. The money was received in three equal payments, in cash-stuffed envelopes, passed across a table to Mulroney in private meetings with Schreiber. That too hasn't been denied.

Of course, in persuading the federal government to cave on his defamation lawsuit, Mulroney stated, under oath, that he'd never had any business dealings with Karlheinz Schreiber. Not any, none, no way, never. When a former prime minister makes an unequivocal statement under oath - on pain of prosecution for perjury - he can expect to be afforded the benefit of the doubt. Mr. Mulroney made the statement, he was taken at his sworn word, the government grovelled and publicly apologized and sent his lawyers a big, fat cheque. Mulroney beat his chest and roared his vindication, assuming it was all over.

But it wasn't.

Schreiber talked. He offered to talk to the National Disgrace, but they rebuffed him. Karlheinz next took his story to the Globe and Mail which ran a basic item on the claims. Mulroney's real problems, however, emerged when a CBC producer got his hands on Swiss bank records evidencing Schreiber's alleged payments.

As late as 1999, Mulroney had his spokesmen, Luc Lavoie, flatly deny that any money passed between Mulroney and Schreiber. "I mean the bottom line is that he never received any money from anybody," said Lavoie.

Confronted with CBC's Swiss bank documents Mulroney finally acknowledged having received $300,000 from Schreiber which he then claimed was a retainer for legal services to be rendered. He maintained he later earned those funds by performing legal work for his client.

Here's the deal. Two years after receiving these payments Mulroney gave sworn evidence that he never had any business dealings with Schreiber. He denied having received any money from Schreiber. We had to take him at his word and gave him $2-million.

Years later Mulroney made a "voluntary disclosure" of the supposed income to Revenue Canada when the CBC had documentary evidence of the payments. Not surprisingly, the guy Schreiber claimed was also in on the deal, former Newfoundland Premier Frank Moores, also made a "voluntary disclosure" of his own at the very same time.

The Swiss bank accounts show Airbus money going to Schreiber and deposited into a "schmeergelder" (grease money) account from which $300,000 payments were transferred into accounts claimed to be for Frank Moores and Mulroney. Out of Mulroney's accounts were three withdrawals, each of $100,000 coinciding with Schreiber's coffee shop meetings with the former prime minister.

New information released in today's Globe shows that in February, 1998 - long after Schreiber had caused Mulroney such enormous distress - Schreiber answered Mulroney's call for a private meeting in Brian's hotel room at the Savoy in Zurich. He was met in the lobby by Mulroney's assistant, Paul Terrien, who escorted Schreiber to his boss's room.

Terrien, today working as chief of staff to Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon, confirms the Schreiber-Mulroney meeting but says he didn't ask and wasn't told what the men discussed. Schreiber claims Mulroney called the meeting to find out if there was any evidence that might link them financially.

A year later, CBC was digging into the story and asked for an interview with Mulroney. The former PMs spokesman declined the interview request and said, "He is going nuts." This was followed by the public acknowledgment of the payments.

The whole thing smells. If Mulroney received $300,000 as a retainer from Schreiber, there would be trust account records to document it. If the money was sitting in Mulroney's firm's trust account, there would be accounts rendered to justify withdrawal of the money in payment of fees. If the money was earned there should be accounting records concerning it between Mulroney and his then law firm.

In other words there should be at Mulroney's finger tips a series of documents that would conclusively corroborate his retainer/legal fees story. Why has his former law firm not stepped up to confirm that the Schreiber money was received, held and disbursed appropriately? Why did Mulroney not declare as income the legal fees he claims he received, out of trust, in the year they were paid to him? Why did both Mulroney and Frank Moores make voluntary disclosures to Revenue Canada, when were they made and in respect of what income?

Here's another question: Given Stephen Harper's bold proclamation that his government is squeaky clean, why hasn't he demanded Mulroney explain his sworn evidence in 1995 that he'd had absolutely no business dealings with Schreiber? Why isn't he making any effort to see if we should be getting our $2-million back from his close friend, Brian Mulroney?

1 comment:

burlivespipe said...

Harper and the NaPo are firmly in the camp of revisionist history; putting Muldoomey's chin on Mt Robson may be their next assignment, while also leading subvertive charges to have Trudeau dug up and hung as Canada's Worst Canadian.
There is no limit to how low these skunks will sink -- i take that back. I like skunks, and their smell at least evaporates after 2-3 weeks.