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Former Liberal MP Raj Grewal charged with fraud, breach of trust

Click to play video 'Raj Grewal says he’s repaid millions in debt, may not resign' Raj Grewal says he’s repaid millions in debt, may not resign
Days after saying he would leave politics, Brampton East MP Raj Grewal now says he's considering his options. The about-face came in a Facebook video where he admitted to having a gambling addiction and amassing millions of dollars in debt. Mike Le Couteur reports.

Former Liberal MP Raj Grewal is facing criminal charges of breach of trust and fraud.

According to court documents, Grewal allegedly broke the law by failing to disclose $6 million in funds he received while serving as a Member of Parliament for Brampton East between 2015 and 2019.

RCMP issued a statement announcing charges on Friday that allege the funds were personal loans that he had received.

Read more: Former Liberal MP Raj Grewal resigned over ‘gambling problem’: PMO

Grewal faces four counts of breach of trust and one count of fraud over $5,000. The charges include allegations that he defrauded a staff member of his constituency office and used that office’s budget for his personal benefit, according to the documents.

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RCMP said the laying of the charges marks the end of “an extensive criminal investigation which first began in September 2017, after the RCMP received proactive disclosures from the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) regarding suspicious transactions involving Mr. Grewal during his time in office.”

He is scheduled to appear in an Ottawa court on Oct. 6, 2020.

Click to play video 'Trudeau didn’t find out about Raj Grewal’s gambling until last week' Trudeau didn’t find out about Raj Grewal’s gambling until last week
Trudeau didn’t find out about Raj Grewal’s gambling until last week

Grewal has denied wrongdoing.

“Mr. Grewal adamantly denies these allegations – as he has done steadfastly since 2018. He looks forward to having his day in court and clearing his name,” his lawyer Nader R. Hasan of Stockwoods Barristers said in a statement Friday.

According to the court documents, Grewal was arrested Thursday and had the charges sworn against him Friday.

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The charges allege Grewal solicited funds “by deceit, falsehood or other fraudulent means” between October 2015 and April 2019, when the alleged $6 million was received. Those funds were used for his personal benefit during that same time period, according to another of the charges.

The alleged defrauding of an employee and personal use of his constituency office budget is said to have occurred between November 2015 and October 2017, according to the court documents. Grewal is also accused of soliciting payment from an employee “in a manner that constitutes fraud,” one of the charges states.

Read more: Trudeau says his office only recently learned of Raj Grewal’s gambling problem

Grewal came under intense scrutiny in November 2018 after he abruptly announced his resignation.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s Office said at the time Grewal had informed them that he was undergoing treatment for “a gambling problem that led him to incur significant personal debts.”

While Grewal had initially indicated he would resign as a member of Parliament, he reversed course in December 2018, insisting he would stay on.

He sent in a video to the Globe and Mail newspaper at the time, saying he had accumulated  “millions of dollars” in debt by playing blackjack at a casino not far from Parliament Hill.

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He said that debt has been fully repaid, but questions remained including among members of the Liberal caucus about where the money originally came from and how it might’ve been paid back.

He announced he was leaving the Liberal caucus and sitting as an independent in January 2019. He did not run in the 2019 federal election.

Click to play video 'Questions linger over the departure of Liberal MP Raj Grewal' Questions linger over the departure of Liberal MP Raj Grewal
Questions linger over the departure of Liberal MP Raj Grewal

Grewal is the second former Liberal MP to face criminal charges in recent months.

Kitchener South—Hespeler MP Marwan Tabbara was charged with assault, break and enter and commit an indictable offence and criminal harassment in a separate case in the spring.

He subsequently quit caucus and is sitting as an independent MP.

—With files from Global’s Andrew Russell

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