Friday, December 13, 2013

"Did you see that senators and PMO ... well did you? You're never too old to go to jail the mounties always get their man!

Corporal Greg Horton
Chretien's 'good friend' charged by RCMP in relation to Liberal sponsorship scandal

Daniel Leblanc
Friday, December 13, 2013
Jacques Corriveau, former Liberal organizer and President of Pluri-Design, makes a point during his testimony before the Gomery Commission Monday, May 30, 2005 in Montreal. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

The RCMP has laid fraud-related charges against a friend and Liberal ally of former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien as part of its 11-year-long investigation into the sponsorship scandal.

Jacques Corriveau, 80, has been summoned to appear in court at a later date on charges of fraud, forgery and laundering proceeds of crime. The RCMP is scheduled to provide further details at a news conference on Friday.

The RCMP has also obtained restraint orders to freeze two of Mr. Corriveau's investment accounts, as well as his residence which is valued at $1-million.

Mr. Corriveau made $8-million, according to a 2005 inquiry, by acting as a broker for a number of firms involved in a program set up after the 1995 Quebec sovereignty referendum to increase the federal government’s presence in the province.

The $150-million national-unity initiative, overseen by the federal department of Public Works, was used to place Canadian flags and banners at sporting and cultural events across Canada. A disproportionate amount of the visibility was placed in Quebec, with Liberal-friendly advertising firms collecting lucrative commissions to act as middlemen between the government and the organizers of the various events.

A 2005 inquiry found Mr. Corriveau kept some of the federal funds for himself and funnelled other amounts in hidden donations to the Liberal Party of Canada.

Mr. Corriveau, then a Liberal organizer, was at the centre of major revelations involving cash payments and secret political donations at the inquiry into the sponsorship scandal, leading to Commissioner John Gomery’s declaration that Mr. Corriveau was a “central figure in an elaborate kickback scheme.”

Mr. Chrétien described Mr. Corriveau as a “good friend” during his appearance in front of the inquiry, pointing out that they met in Liberal circles.

“He always worked for me,” Mr. Chrétien said. “He was one of my organizers the two times I ran for the leadership and he was very active.”

However, Mr. Chrétien denied having any knowledge of Mr. Corriveau’s role in the sponsorship program.

The charges threaten to undermine one of Mr. Chrétien’s arguments that none of the people who were criminally responsible for the sponsorship scandal were Liberals. So far, the RCMP and the Quebec provincial police have obtained convictions against former bureaucrat Chuck Guité as well as admen Jean Brault, Jean Lafleur, Paul Coffin and Gilles-André Gosselin.

“Five guys have been found guilty in all of this, and none of them was a member of the Liberal Party,” Mr. Chrétien said in 2012 to Le Droit, a French-language newspaper published in Ottawa-Gatineau.

The RCMP investigation into the sponsorship scandal started in 2002 after a series of stories on the matter in The Globe and Mail. The Mounties raided Mr. Corriveau’s house in 2007.

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