09/04/2014 09:10 EDT | Updated 11/04/2014 05:59 EST

New Brunswick Liberal candidate says fraud charges are baseless

FLORENCEVILLE, N.B. - A Liberal candidate in the New Brunswick election facing charges of fraud and uttering forged documents says he didn't mention his legal problems to the party because he believes the allegations are without merit.

Andrew Harvey issued a statement Thursday apologizing for his lack of disclosure, saying he only learned recently of the charges that relate to incidents alleged to have happened in 2011.

"I can say unequivocally that I am innocent of any of the allegations of wrongdoing," the statement said. "It is my intention to vigorously defend myself against this unsubstantiated attack on my character and reputation."

Harvey, who is running in the riding of Carleton-Victoria, says he is innocent of the charges but supports the party's decision Wednesday to suspend him from the Liberal caucus pending the outcome of his case.

Harvey is named along with David Frederick Harvey, B. Fred Harvey and three companies in documents filed on July 29 in Woodstock provincial court.

Andrew Harvey is the owner of Harvey Farm and Forest Ltd., one of the companies named in the documents.

The information filed with the court alleges that between May 1, 2011, and Dec. 31, 2011, the accused defrauded the province of more than $5,000 and while knowing or believing documents were forged, caused two people to act on those documents as though they were genuine.

The court says no plea was entered when the case last came up in court on Aug. 18. It's scheduled to return to court on Oct. 28.

Harvey said the alleged offence involves Crown wood, but he is not involved in the day-to-day forestry operations of the company.

"I can only speculate as to why these charges are being presented at this time just prior to a provincial election campaign in which I am presenting myself as a candidate," he said.

Gallant said Wednesday he only learned of the charges that morning and is disappointed that Harvey did not alert the party about the charges.

Premier David Alward questioned Wednesday whether Harvey should remain as a Liberal candidate.

"Certainly the charges that Mr. Harvey is being accused of are serious," Alward said. "I can't imagine if this is the case, that he would be able to continue as a candidate for the Liberal party."

Harvey also reacted to Alward's comments.

"I must admit that I was somewhat taken aback by the remarks of Premier Alward who offered his insight on this matter," Harvey said. "I reiterate that the charges against me are baseless and I am confident that justice will prevail."