British Columbia

Former Liberal MP Joe Peschisolido repeatedly broke conflict of interest rules, watchdog says

Former Liberal MP Joe Peschisolido broke Canadian conflict of interest rules through a "chronic failure" to disclose his private interests, the federal ethics watchdog has found.

Defeated B.C. representative failed to disclose private interests, including loan and closure of law firm

Former Steveston-Richmond East Liberal MP Joe Peschisolido was defeated in the 2019 federal election. (Joe Peschisolido)

Former Liberal MP Joe Peschisolido broke Canadian conflict of interest rules through a "chronic failure" to disclose his private interests, the federal ethics watchdog has found.

Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion released the results Wednesday of his investigation into Peschisolido's conduct while he was representing the B.C. riding of Steveston-Richmond East.

Dion said the former MP broke the conflict of interest code for members of Parliament in multiple ways.

"Given Mr. Peschisolido's chronic failure to comply with the code's disclosure requirements, there is no doubt in my mind I would h​​​ave recommended that Parliament impose appropriate sanctions. I did not do so because Mr. Peschisolido is no longer a member of the House of Commons," Dion said in a written statement.

Federal ethics rules require MPs to report any material changes to their investments and other private interests within 60 days.

Peschisolido broke those rules when he failed to report a shareholder's loan worth more than $10,000, a personal guarantee of debt worth more than $10,000, his 2018 marriage and the fact that the Law Society of B.C. had obtained a court order to take over his legal practice, according to Dion's report.

"​The disclosure of private interests is essential to helping prevent conflicts between public and private interests," Dion said.

"It is a key foundation of some of the code's fundamental purposes, including to maintain and enhance public confidence."

Questions about real estate deal

The investigation into Peschisolido began last summer in response to a complaint from Conservative MP Peter Kent.

Kent's concerns were based on reporting by Global News, which published a story about the role Peschisolido's law firm had played in a "bare trust" real estate transaction involving an investment in a condo development by an alleged kingpin in a Chinese drug cartel.

Such deals are legal, but have come under scrutiny as B.C. grapples with money laundering issues.

Peschisolido ran for re-election with the Liberals in October, but was defeated by Conservative Kenny Chiu. He turned in this law licence in 2018.

With files from The Canadian Press

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