Jul 05, 2013

By Jane Brown

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It appears the Conservative Party initially considered reimbursing Senator Mike Duffy for his improperly claimed living expenses. The RCMP has formally laid out its criminal case against Duffy, saying he is being investigated for allegations of breach of trust and fraud against the government.  Court documents obtained by news outlets reveal the party balked when a 90-thousand dollar bill turned out nearly three times higher than expected.

The documents say Nigel Wright, the prime minister’s chief of staff at the time, then stepped in to give Duffy the $90,000 to reimburse the Senate.  The documents are part of a package of information the RCMP provided to an Ontario judge last month as part of an ongoing investigation of Duffy.  The documents reportedly spell out some of the details of the arrangement with Wright, who did not expect to be paid back.  Lead investigator RCMP Cpl. Greg Horton alleges that Duffy broke the law by accepting “an advantage or benefit of money ($90,124.27) from Nigel Wright.”

The documents also detail conversations between investigators and Wright’s lawyers and allege others in the Prime Minister’s Office besides Wright knew of the arrangement.  Prime Minister Harper was apparently not one of them and has insisted Wright did not tell him about the “gift” until after news of it went public.

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