POLITICS
11/23/2018 19:39 EST | Updated 11/23/2018 19:39 EST

Raj Grewal Resigned To Get Help For Gambling Problem: PMO

He abruptly stepped down on Thursday.

Canadian Press
Liberal MP Raj Grewal rises in the House of Commons in Ottawa on June 3, 2016.

OTTAWA — Raj Grewal's sudden resignation as a Liberal MP was prompted by a gambling problem, according to the Prime Minister's Office.

Grewal, who represented the riding of Brampton East, announced his immediate resignation Thursday, citing unspecified personal and medical reasons.

On Friday, the PMO issued a statement saying that Grewal had informed the office earlier this week "that he is undergoing serious personal challenges and that he is receiving treatment from a health professional related to a gambling problem that led him to incur significant personal debts.

"Based on these circumstances, we agreed that his decision to resign as Member of Parliament for Brampton East was the right one. We hope he receives the support he needs."

The statement, issued in response to numerous media inquiries, went on to say: "We are not aware of an investigation by the Peel Regional Police. We are aware of inquiries by the RCMP regarding the circumstances that were the subject of a complaint to the ethics commissioner about Mr. Grewal earlier this year."

Conflict-of-interest probe

Ethics watchdog Mario Dion launched a formal inquiry last May after two opposition MPs expressed concerns that Grewal might have been in a conflict of interest when he invited a construction executive — who was paying Grewal for legal services at the time — to official events with Justin Trudeau during the prime minister's trip to India early this year.

The conflict-of-interest code prohibits MPs from using their positions to further their private interests or to improperly further another person's interests.

It's not clear what prompted the PMO's reference to the Peel police and a spokesperson for the force declined to comment.

"We do not confirm if we are investigating an individual or if there is an active investigation," said Const. Akhil Mooken. "The only time we would share information on an individual is if charges were laid."

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