Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ethics Czar Closes Fantino File after Cayman Bank Records Turn out to Be Fakes: Ethics Czar Says Cayman Bank Records Are Fake

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ethics Czar Closes Fantino File after Cayman Bank Records Turn out to Be Fakes: Ethics Czar Says Cayman Bank Records Are Fake

Article excerpt

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. …

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