OTTAWA - The federal ethics commissioner will not investigate a Conservative cabinet minister after determining that documents purporting to show undisclosed bank accounts in the Cayman Islands are fakes.
The Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner notified Associate Defence Minister Julian Fantino on Thursday afternoon that investigators have confirmed bank records purporting to be from offshore accounts are in fact forgeries.
"My office has received confirmation from UBS Wealth Management that the account statements are not authentic," Conflict of interest and ethics commissioner Mary Dawson wrote to Fantino.
"Based on the information before me I do not have reason to pursue this matter further."
The minister's office provided The Canadian Press with a copy of the letter.
While the ethics commissioner has now closed her file, the RCMP continues to look into a complaint from Fantino about possible mistaken identity, or identity theft.
A spokesman for Fantino, who as associate defence minister is in charge of buying military equipment, said the matter was being taken very seriously.
"It is clear that the minister has been targeted with mischief," Chris McCluskey said in an email.
Dawson's office opened a file in March after receiving documents from former Conservative candidate Richard Lorello that purported to show offshore bank accounts and wire transfers under the minister's name.
Lorello ran unsuccessfully for the Conservatives in Vaughan, Ont., in 2008. Fantino subsequently won a 2010 byelection to become that riding's member of Parliament.
Lorello later resigned from the Conservative riding association in Vaughan over what he says were concerns about a multimillion-dollar government grant to the Vaughan Health Campus of Care.
He and two other ex-members of the riding association are embroiled in a bitter dispute with the current local executive. The three former riding association members have all sworn affidavits alleging possible irregularities in Fantino's byelection and 2011 federal election campaigns. Elections Canada is reviewing those complaints. Fantino's office has denied those allegations.
Lorello says someone sent him documents last year that purported to show Fantino had several Cayman bank accounts. The minister has not disclosed any offshore accounts in his conflict-of-interest declaration for the ethics commissioner's public registry.
Dawson's office put two investigators on the case, Marie-Josee Smith and Eppo Maertens, director of reports and investigations. After checking with several banks, the investigators determined the documents are forgeries.
Lorello has said he sent the documents to the ethics commissioner and the Canada Revenue Agency not knowing whether they were real or fake.
He told The Canadian Press last week that he was not alleging any wrongdoing on Fantino's part, and merely wanted the ethics commissioner to look into the matter.
He has refused to give investigators the email address of the person who sent him the documents.
"Although I do not know the source, I cannot provide the email address of the source either, due to the fact that I would be betraying a trust and the source does not wish to come forward at this time," Lorello wrote to Smith last month.
"The source has provided the information to me in good faith and I as a citizen have provided the information to the proper Canadian authorities, including the Office of the Ethics Commissioner because I feel that it is my duty to do so."
Fantino's spokesman said the minister was urging Lorello to reveal his source to police.
How Much Do Our MPs Make?
Here's a rundown of <a href="http://www.parl.gc.ca/ParlInfo/Lists/Salaries.aspx?Menu=HOC-Politic&Section=03d93c58-f843-49b3-9653-84275c23f3fb&Year=2011" target="_hplink">how much our MPs make</a> depending on their position in the House. (Alamy)
MP - $157,731
The base salary for a Member of Parliament is $157,731. Being named to cabinet or other positions nets an MP extra pay. (<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/scazon/" target="_hplink">Flickr: Scazon</a>)
Government and Opposition Whip - $186,151
NDP MP Nycole Turmel is the Official Opposition Whip. (CP)
Leaders of Other Parties - $211,425
Bob Rae is the interim leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. (CP)
Minister of State - $214,368
Tim Uppal is the Minister of State for Democratic Reform. Ministers of State are essentially junior cabinet ministers. (CP)
Cabinet Minister - $233,247
Jim Flaherty is Minister of Finance. (CP) All ministers also receive a car allowance of $2,122.
Leader of the Opposition - $233,247
As NDP chief, Thomas Mulair is leader of the Official Opposition. He also receives a $2,122 car allowance. (CP)
Speaker of the House - $233,247
Andrew Scheer is currently serving as speaker. On top of his salary, Scheer receives a rent allowance of $3,000 and a car allowance of $1,061. (CP)
Prime Minister - $315,462
As Prime Minister, Stephen Harper also receives a car allowance of $2,112. (AP)
Top 10 Most Expensive MP Pensions
Welcome to the $3 million club. The following 10 MPs will each receive an estimated total lifetime pension of more than $3 million if they retire in 2019. All the <a href="http://taxpayer.com/sites/default/files/CTFMP-PensionReport-WEB.pdf" target="_hplink">estimates come from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation</a> and are based on an MP retiring in 2019 and ceasing to receive their pension at age 80. The numbers if the MPs retire in 2015 are also included in the caption to each slide.
10. Michael Chong - $3,124,903
Conservative MP Michael Chong would receive an estimated lifetime pension of $2,684,816 if he were to retire in 2015.
9. Peter Van Loan - $3,194,114
Conservative MP Peter Van Loan would receive an estimated lifetime pension of $2,462,029 if he were to retire in 2015. (CP)
8. Rona Ambrose - $3,330,876
Conservative MP Rona Ambrose would receive an estimated lifetime pension of $2,429,149 if she were to retire in 2015. (CP)
7. Rob Anders - $3,643,873
Conservative MP Rob Anders would receive an estimated lifetime pension of $3,034,089 if he were to retire in 2015. (Jeff McIntosh/CP)
6. Denis Coderre - $3,701,989
Liberal MP Denis Coderre would receive an estimated lifetime pension of $3,288,821 if he were to retire in 2015. (Graham Hughes/CP)
5. Scott Brison - $3,723,666
Liberal MP Scott Brison would receive an estimated lifetime pension of $3,113,881 if he were to retire in 2015.
4. James Moore - $3,795,386
Conservative MP James Moore would receive an estimated lifetime pension of $2,893,658 if he were to retire in 2015. (Althia Raj)
3. Gerry Byrne - $3,996,498
Liberal MP Gerry Byrne would receive an estimated lifetime pension of $3,450,711 if he were to retire in 2015.
2. Jason Kenney - $4,318,507
Conservative MP Jason Kenney would receive an estimated lifetime pension of $3,416,779 if he were to retire in 2015. (CP)
1. Stephen Harper - $5,596,474
Prime Minister Stephen Harper would receive an estimated lifetime pension of $5,456,109 if he were to retire in 2015. Harper's numbers are based on the PM not buying back into the program for his service as a Reform Party MP between 1993-1997. In order to make a political statement, Harper did not contribute to the pension program during his time as a Reform MP. After returning to Parliament Hill in 2002, Harper could have retroactively contributed to the program for his service from 1993 to 1997. According to the PMO, Harper has not and will not make those contributions. MPs are not obligated to disclose this information. If Harper were to choose to buy back in for those years, his numbers would change. If he were to buy back in and retire in 2019 he would receive an estimated lifetime pension of $6,216,858 and $6,233,568 if he were to retire in 2015. His numbers also include the special allowance he will receive as Prime Minister. An earlier version of this story used the numbers based on Harper buying back in for the 1993 to 1997 period. After being contacted by the PMO with the prime minister's pledge not to do so, the numbers were updated. (CP)