Friday, October 22, 2010

Changing story on B.C. Rail plea deal

The government now says David Loukidelis, deputy in the Attorney General's Ministry, and Graham Whitmarsh, finance deputy made the decision to cover David Basi and Bob Virk's legal bills:

From Thursday's Vancouver Sun:

"Loukidelis said in the statement that he and deputy finance minister Graham Whitmarsh decided to relieve the two men of responsibility for their legal fees because of their inability to pay...

Loukidelis said the special prosecutor in the case and Attorney-General Mike de Jong did not have "any knowledge of the matter or any involvement in this." He added that he informed de Jong of the decision after it was made, on Oct. 8."

But on Wednesday in the Sun de Jong appears to be saying he made the decision.

"De Jong said he made the recommendation last week not to recoup outstanding legal costs.

"As attorney-general, I am presented with a set of facts and a set of recommendations and in this case have proceeded on the strength of that and people will have to come to their own conclusions," he said.

De Jong also pointed out the plea bargain means that no more public money needs to be spent in the case."

And that's certainly what he seemed to say in Tuesday's Sun story:

"Attorney-General Mike de Jong said earlier that Basi and Virk will not be asked to repay the estimated $6 million the government has paid to cover their legal costs.

De Jong said he agreed to the deal because the two men had contributed what they could to their defence and "there's nothing left to pursue."

It might be that de Jong was misquited or just careless. But given the seriousness of the case and the size of the payout, why wouldn't he say on Tuesday that the two deputy ministers had made the decision and he had no role, if that was the case?


DPL said...

The words"Pack of liars" fits right into the events. They can't even keep their lying correct

RossK said...

Why didn't Mr. de Jong say so?


Is it possible, as Rafe Mair has suggested, that the actual 'deal' was not made by him or his.

Why do I raise this possibility?

Well (again).....

There is that second member of that dynamic duo who, as you rightly point out Paul, does not work for Mr. de Jong, but instead reports to the Finance Minister, Mr. Colin Hansen.

Where are financial decisions to come up with a big whack o' cash such as these made?

Me thinks they are not made by the AG's office.

Instead, I have to wonder if they are made around a very different table.

One that includes members of cabinet.

More on my take on this, for anyone interested, can be found here....


Anonymous said...

The Province's Keith Fraser reports that corporate crooks get a walk from BC Rail Special Prosecutor's 2nd in command Janet Winteringham.

Basi approached the company and asked for $50,000 so he could help his mother buy a home, and the company agreed because they saw him as an influential figure in the government worth cultivating, Winteringham said.

I wonder how much Anthony Ralph Young and James Seymour Duncan have given to the BC Liberals over the years?

Anybody know the area? Was it "hard scrabble farmland"?

$200,000 divided by 700 homes equals $285.71 per lot.


In related news...

Joseph Stiglitz, an internationally renowned economist and winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize in economics says legal penalties for financial fraud in the U.S. have become "just a cost of doing business".

"We fine them, and what is the big lesson?" said Stiglitz. "Behave badly, and the government might take 5% or 10% of what you got in your ill-gotten gains, but you're still sitting home pretty with your several hundred million dollars that you have left over after paying fines that look very large by ordinary standards, but look small compared to the amount that you've been able to cash in."

"I think we ought to go do what we did in the S&L [crisis] and actually put many of these guys in prison," said Stiglitz. "Absolutely. These are not just white-collar crimes or little accidents. There were victims. That's the point. There were victims all over the world."

Sam Gustin, DailyFinance

DPL said...

Just a reminder. All deputy Ministers report directly to King Gordo, not to their own Ministers.Many are picked by Gordo himself. The ministers do what they are told.

RossK said...


Point very much taken - thanks.


RossK said...

Re: my comment above on the musings of Mr. Mair and the possibility that Cabinet may have been involved in making the decision to give away the $6 million.


According to Vaughn Palmer in today's VSun, due to an indemnification technicality (the size of a house) worked out beforehand, it just didn't go down that way.



Anonymous said...

Good exposing this and keeping this front and centre Paul. Also check out Straight Goods story for priceless exposition of changing story on BC Rail Plea Bargain

check out Straight Goods for a priceless exposition of the changing story on BC Rail

Anonymous said...

The Province lets alumnus Brian Kieran have a word.

After twisting in the wind for the better part of seven years, I never got to tell my story as a witness for the Crown. And I had quite a story to tell. While I don't get to tell it all in the space I have today, I can, at least, provide some initial perspective.

Looks like spin.
Feels like spin.
Reads like spin.