Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Schreiber grilled about meetings with former prime minister

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OTTAWA — Karlheinz Schreiber says Brian Mulroney asked during a 1998 meeting in a Swiss hotel about whether there was any evidence he had received money from the German-Canadian deal-maker.

Schreiber provided his take on the meeting at the Savoy Hotel in Zurich while being grilled Wednesday at a federal commission of inquiry about his meetings with the former prime minister.

He was pressed repeatedly to say what, if anything, Mulroney did to earn the hundreds of thousands of dollars that Schreiber says he paid him in 1993 and 1994 to lobby for the establishm­ent of a facility to build Germandesi­gned armoured vehicles in Canada. The proposal was known as the Bear Head project.

Asked to describe Mulroney’s demeanour at their Zurich meeting, Schreiber said: “I think he didn’t feel very comfortabl­e.”

When Schreiber said he advised Mulroney there was no evidence of him getting money, commission lawyer Richard Wolson asked why he didn’t remind Mulroney that he had paid him.

“Did you say, ‘Brian, I paid you $300,000. What have you done for it?’ ” Wolson asked. “Did you say, ‘Could you give me a statement?’ ” The reply from Schreiber was “No.” The exchange was typical of several during a day of relentless questionin­g by Wolson, which was largely devoted to getting details about what happened at the three meetings in Montreal and New York where Schreiber delivered the money to Mulroney, and what Schreiber expected in return for the money.

Schreiber testified there was no paper trail for the transactio­ns, but he rejected Wolson’s suggestion he had deliberate­ly avoided leaving such a trail by using cash instead of cheques or bank drafts.

“That was not on my mind,” Schreiber said with a shrug.

Schreiber said he paid Mulroney $300,000 in three instalment­s after he stepped down as prime minister in July 1993 to lobby domestical­ly for Bear Head.

Mulroney has acknowledg­ed accepting $225,000, which he waited until 1999 to report to Canadian tax authoritie­s, but he says his mandate was to lobby internatio­nally to market the vehicles outside Canada.

Asked how he knew he gave Mulroney $100,000 each time in $1,000 denominati­ons, Schreiber said: “I counted it.”

The inquiry, led by Justice Jeffrey Oliphant, has been charged with getting to the bottom of what the cash was for and where it came from.

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