Arthur Porter endorses 'friend' Philippe Couillard

Arthur Porter, who is currently being held in a Panama prison, has endorsed former business partner and "friend" Philippe Couillard.

Embattled former MUHC head remains in Panamanian prison

Arthur Porter was arrested in Panama City in May through the collaborative effort of the RCMP, Interpol and local authorities. (CBC)

Arthur Porter, who is currently being held in a prison in Panama, has endorsed former business partner and "friend" Philippe Couillard in an interview with his biographer published online. 

Porter, the former head of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC), was arrested in Panama City in May 2013 for his alleged role in a plot to bilk millions from a Montreal super-hospital project.

The allegations have not been proven in court. 

He is still contesting an extradition order to Canada to face trial on those charges. 

In a brief Q&A published online by his biographer, Jeff Todd, the infamous Montrealer endorses Couillard and says they had a close relationship.

"Philippe and I knew each other very well. We spent time socially together. We felt it was important to have a good relationship because there were things we had to do on the work side. But we also genuinely liked each other and we spent quality time together," Porter says in the interview with Todd.

"I would say the relationship was close. We spoke about more than work, things we were going through. And many personal things I won't go into."

Couillard tries to distance himself from Porter

Throughout the election campaign, Couillard has been criticized by his opponents for his close ties with Porter and their plans to start a business together.

But Couillard has been careful to distance himself from Porter and the allegations he's facing, pointing out that their plans for a business never took off. 

During the second leaders debate, Couillard said that in hindsight, he's relieved their plans for a company never got off the ground. 

Porter backed up that claim in the Q&A: "We never activated the company, pending the fact I was still basically at the MUHC and we wanted to wait until those strings were cut."

In the interview, Porter adds that he still considers Couillard a friend.

"I do not believe in "fair-weather" friendship," he said.