Canada

Mulroney PM during armoured vehicle lobby, says Schreiber

Karlheinz Schreiber says he had a breakfast meeting with Brian Mulroney about a German armoured vehicle project in March 1993 — three months before the then prime minister left office.

Karlheinz Schreiber says he had a breakfast meeting with Brian Mulroney about a German armoured vehicle project in March 1993— three months before the then prime minister left office.

MPs questioned Schreiber about a March 1993 letter to Mulroney about a meeting at 24 Sussex Dr. with Mulroney and former cabinet minister Elmer MacKay.

Schreiber said they discussed Thyssen armoured vehicles during the meeting, which, he said, was arranged by MacKay, who was the minister responsible for the Atlantic Canadian Opportunties Agency (ACOA).

"Whenever I met with[Mulroney], I discussed the Bear Head project, it was my job," said Schreiber, who lobbied on behalf of a number of German companies.

The statement appears to contradict Mulroney's sworn testimony in his $2.1-million Airbus settlement when he said he had no dealings with Schreiber.

The testimony before the Commons ethics committee marks Schreiber's fourth appearance at Parliament. MPs are reviewing his business relationship with Mulroney and a 1997 libel settlement awarded Mulroney by the Canadian government.

Schreiber is out on bail while he fights extradition to Germany to face fraud and other charges.

Schreiber name-dropped another Mulroney-era cabinet minister during Tuesday's testimony— former transport minister Benoit Bouchard.

"You have not the smallest clue how projects happened. I recommend urgently [the committee] invite Benoit Bouchard," said Schreiber, who didn't provide anyfurther information.

No appearance by former lobbyists

Schreiber also confirmed he was askedby European businessman Walter Wolf to help in the campaign to oust Joe Clark as Conservative leader in 1983.

Schreiber said he delivered $25,000 and that money also came from Airbus chair and former Bavarian premier Franz Josef Strauss, as first reported by the Fifth Estate.

"So you helped buy the leadership race that created the next prime minister of Canada with foreign money," said NDP MP Pat Martin.

Committee members had wanted to hear from two former employees of the Ottawa lobbying firm Government Consultants International (GCI), started by former Newfoundland premier and Mulroney adviser Frank Moores during the 1980s.

In opening the meeting on Tuesday, committee chair Paul Szabo said Gerald Doucet, brother of former Mulroney aide Fred Doucet, is in hospital in Nova Scotia. The committee clerk left a phone message with the other employee, Toronto businessman Greg Alford, on Monday, but he hasn't returned the call.

Last week, Schreiber told the committee thatFred Doucet requested that money be funnelled through GCI to Mulroney, via his lawyer in Switzerland.

When he asked what the money was for, Schreiber said Doucet told him it was "for Airbus," the $1.8-billion deal to sell Airbus planes to Air Canada in 1988. Doucet has denied theallegation and said he is prepared to appear before the committee.

Schreiber provided no evidence when he made the allegation, so committee members wanted to hear from people who would have workedat the now-defunct firmat the time.

During Tuesday's testimony, Schreiber said he couldn't remember exactly how much he paid GCI in commissions for projects, but when pressed said it was not less than $5 million.

"There was constant fighting. Doucet fought with Moores about funds all the time," he said.

Ex-PM denies benefiting from Airbus sale

Mulroney has denied benefiting in any way from the Airbus sale and won a $2.1-million settlement from the federal government in 1997 when his name was mentioned in an RCMP investigation into the sale.

None of the allegations against Mulroney has been proven in court.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has called a public inquiry into the Airbus affair.

Mulroney will make his first appearance before the committee on Thursday.

The former Tory prime minister, who is set to testify for four hours, has never publicly talked about the $300,000 he accepted from Schreiber during the early 1990s. Mulroney's spokesperson said in November that Mulroney admits taking the cash was a "colossal mistake."

Schreiber said he couldn't care less what Mulroneytells the committeeon Thursday, saying he doesn't understand why he's never discussed the $300,000.

"There's nothing wrong with the $300,000," he said. "I don't know why the man is so scared."

Mulroney plans to bring his wife and four children to the committee hearing. He had asked for seats directly behind him, but the request was denied.

Tangled tale involves consulting fees

Last week, Schreiber told the committee that the $300,000 was extracted from a $4-million success fee paid to his consulting company by his German client after the Mulroney government signed an agreement of understanding to financially support an armoured tank plant in Cape Breton in Nova Scotia.

Schreiber said he and Mulroney agreed to work together during a private meeting at a prime ministerial retreat in Harrington Lake on June 23, 1993, two days before Mulroney left office.

Mulroney has never explained why he received the money, which was paid in cash-stuffed envelopes during three meetings in hotel rooms in Montreal and New York.

Schreiber said he doesn't think Mulroney did any work for him. When asked why he paid $300,000 without having seen evidence of any work, Schreiber would only say he believed Mulroney would make an effective lobbyist when he left office.

Schreiber, a 73-year-old former arms dealer, is trying to launch an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada to remain in the country.

The committee hearings have caused a minor uproar on Parliament Hill, with packs of reporters following Schreiber's every move, opposition politicians trying to link him with the current government, and Conservative politicians accusing Schreiber of stalling in a desperate bid to remain in Canada.

With files from the Canadian Press

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