NEWS

Nigel Wright won't face charges over $90K payment to Mike Duffy

04/15/2014 05:09 EDT | Updated 06/15/2014 05:59 EDT
The RCMP has ended its probe into Nigel Wright, the former chief of staff to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and his $90,000 payment to suspended Conservative Senator Mike Duffy.

The Mounties confirmed Tuesday that Wright won't face charges.

​Wright was being investigated for bribery, fraud and breach of trust over a payment to Conservative Senator Mike Duffy, who was suspended from the Senate without pay in November for filing ineligible expenses.

​Wright resigned nearly a year ago after a media report revealed he had given Duffy a cheque for $90,172.24 to repay his Senate expenses debt. Prime Minister Stephen Harper initially said Wright was acting in the public interest and that he had accepted Wright's resignation, but later said Wright had been "dismissed" and had committed a "deception."

RCMP Const. Greg Horton said in an affidavit filed in court that Wright was incensed Duffy had run up such high expenses, including charging for meals that Duffy had eaten in his Kanata home.

Court documents also show the RCMP is investigating Duffy for fraud and breach of trust over his Senate expenses.

'Does not support criminal charges'

The RCMP said in a statement that its investigation is over.

"Upon completion of the investigation, we have concluded that the evidence gathered does not support criminal charges against Mr. Wright," Cpl. Lucy Shorey said in an email.

The RCMP opened its investigation last June after months of controversy over Duffy's expenses and Wright's help to Duffy in repaying the questionable expenses. Shorey noted there were "sufficient grounds" to open the probe.

Wright, a long-time Harper supporter, was an executive at private equity firm Onex before he went to work in the Prime Minister's Office in January 2011. He told the RCMP that he is "financially comfortable" and didn't believe in submitting expense claims when he could afford to pay himself. 

The RCMP went through stacks of emails provided by Wright as part of its investigation, some of which were released through court records made public last November.

The emails showed Wright didn't expect the RCMP to get involved in the furor over Duffy's expenses.

“I can’t figure out why the RCMP would have anything to do with this — unless there is clear fraud, which I have never heard,” Wright wrote in February 2013.

In May, Wright wrote, “I personally don’t think that Mike committed a crime at all — if I did, I would have pursued a different course."

MORE:cbcNews