While prime minister, Mulroney collected a hefty salary
and lots of taxpayer-financed perks.
When he left he was "worried about how the future would unfold."
His family, including his wife Mila, expected
"the type of lifestyle they had prior to his joining politics."
MULRONEY CASH FLOW WOE
That's the same year that Mulroney took $300,000 in cash
from a German-Canadian businessman....
Mulroney subsequently sued the government for libel,
and under oath, denied any illicit dealings with Schreiber.
He received a government apology and
a 2.1-million dollar settlement.
Canadian ex-PM admits mistakes over arms dealer
Agence Free Press, Nov 21, 2007
OTTAWA — Former prime minister Brian Mulroney recognizes that he made a "colossal mistake" in taking 300,000 dollars in cash from an arms dealer now facing charges in Germany, his spokesman told a local newspaper Wednesday. "This is the silliest thing he's ever done," Mulroney spokesman Luc Lavoie told the Ottawa Citizen, citing his boss.
The money deal is now the focus of a public inquiry, and a lawsuit by arms dealer Karlheinz Schreiber, who is fighting extradition to Germany, to try to recover the funds.
Lavoie explained that Mulroney's savings had been depleted during his term as prime minister (1984-1993) and his government salary was nowhere near comparable to his former earnings as president of firm Iron Ore. "So when he left (politics), he had no money. He was optimistic, he was going back to his old law firm, but there is a difference between optimistic and having the revenue," said Lavoie. "So the man kind of, I wouldn't say 'anguished,' but worried about how the future would unfold," he said.
Last month, Schreiber prompted a furor in Ottawa with new revelations that Mulroney had accepted the cash payments from Schreiber's secret Zurich bank account at three hotel meetings in New York and Montreal. Mulroney had arranged the money deal two days before he left office, and later tried to cover it up, Schreiber said.
Mulroney has denied any wrongdoing.
Lavoie told the Citizen that Schreiber had offered Mulroney cash in return for his help in establishing a light-armored vehicle factory for the European firm Thyssen AG, and promote Schreiber's burgeoning pasta business.
"Mr. Mulroney admits today that he made a colossal mistake. He should not have gone for it," Lavoie was quoted as saying.
Last week, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, under pressure from opposition parties who pointed to Harper's friendship with Mulroney, ordered a public inquiry into Schreiber's allegations.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) also reopened an investigation of Mulroney's dealings with the German-born businessman, and opposition parties are clamoring for Schreiber to be kept in Canada to testify at the public inquiry. Schreiber himself has threatened to clam up if deported.
Germany alleges Schreiber evaded income taxes on 46 million dollars by hiding commissions he earned for negotiating the sale of helicopters, aircraft and armaments. Prosecutors also allege he bribed Germany's then-defense minister, Ludwig Holger Pfahls, to help secure the sale of 36 army tanks by Thyssen AG to Saudi Arabia, and defrauded Saudi Arabia by siphoning off large commissions in the deal.
In 1995, the RCMP also accused Mulroney of accepting kickbacks from Schreiber for the purchase of Airbus jets for carrier Air Canada in 1988. Mulroney subsequently sued the government for libel, and under oath, denied any illicit dealings with Schreiber. He received a government apology and a 2.1-million dollar settlement and the case was closed.
How poor really was Mulroney?
Bob Hepburn, Toronto Star, Nov 22, 2007
Clearly I am out of touch when it comes to knowing what it means exactly when I hear that someone "is not a rich man" and that he "had no money." Does that mean he is truly broke, living in a friend's basement? Does it mean he is working at two jobs to pay the rent on a small two-bedroom apartment for himself, his wife and four children?
Or, does it mean he can barely afford to buy a $1.675 million mansion in the best part of town and pay between $700,000 and $1 million extra to renovate the old place?
In my world, the guy on the couch or working at two jobs is poor.
But in former prime minister Brian Mulroney's world, well, let's just say things are a bit different. In an extraordinary display of a gutsy, high-stakes public relations campaign to portray his besieged boss as a sympathetic figure, Mulroney spokesman Luc Lavoie is weaving a tale of woe about Mulroney's financial struggles after he left office in 1993.
That's the same year that Mulroney took $300,000 in cash from Karlheinz Schreiber, a German-Canadian businessman. Schreiber alleges he struck a deal while Mulroney was still in office to pay the money after he quit politics.
Those claims will be at the heart of a full public inquiry ordered last week by Prime Minister Stephen Harper into the controversial deal.
Mulroney realized he made a "colossal mistake" in accepting the money from Schreiber, Lavoie said in an interview with CanWest News Service published yesterday. Lavoie said the money was a $100,000-a-year retainer to Mulroney for consulting on a military vehicle plant in Montreal and a pasta business.
Lavoie went on to say Mulroney tells people in private that "this is the silliest thing he's ever done." Almost everyone can agree with Mulroney – up to that point.
But it's when Lavoie, who seldom speaks without first clearing his words with "the boss," goes on to insist that Mulroney needed money, that he was broke and that any money he had saved before entering politics in 1983 was long gone by 1993, that doubts surface.
"When he left, he had no money," Lavoie claimed, suggesting Mulroney was "worried about how the future would unfold." His family, including his wife Mila, expected "the type of lifestyle they had prior to (Mulroney) joining politics, which is something he probably promised them."
So, how broke was Mulroney?
Well, he had enough money to be able to buy a mansion at 47 Forden Cres. in upper Westmount, the richest part of the richest Montreal neighbourhood, for $1.675 million. And then he and Mila proceeded to spend at least $700,000 fixing up the home, which includes an indoor swimming pool.
While prime minister, he collected a hefty salary and lots of taxpayer-financed perks. (Harper, for example, is paid about $290,000 a year). From 1984 to 1993, Mulroney and his family lived at 24 Sussex Dr., the official residence of the prime minister. In addition, they had free use of the summer residence at Harrington Lake.
And when he moved out of those residences, the federal government paid Mulroney $150,000 for furniture he left behind. That included charges for built-in closets and wallpaper. At the time, some people wondered why Canadian taxpayers paid for a closet. Did Mulroney plan to take it to Westmount? The bill came despite the fact that the Conservative party had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars decorating and furnishing Mulroney's official homes while he was in office.
To top it off, the "broke" Mulroney managed to find a job within days of stepping down as prime minister, returning to one of his old employers, the Montreal law firm of Ogilvy Renault. The salary wasn't disclosed, but you can bet it meant he was no longer poor.
What's behind this tale of woe?
Is Mulroney sending Lavoie out to win him public sympathy before the inquiry starts and to suggest one reason for his "colossal error" was that he was cash poor? If that's the case, then Mulroney should give Canadians the full story about his financial plight. That's because few of us would believe that a man who seemed to live so well in a huge home could, in fact, have had "no money."
Reader James wonders what deal Canada's ex-PM Mulroney struck with ADM, one of world's largest dealers in grain
MULRONEY BALONEY FISHY
Ex-PM admits arms dealer deal ($300,000 cash in 3 envelopes). Agence Free Press, Nov 21, 2007
How poor really was Mulroney? (bought $1.675 million mansion) Toronto Star, Nov 22, 2007
CANADA'S MULRONEY BALONEY
10.Rulers and 8.Classes of People and PIGS AT THE TROUGH
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