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Mulroney says he would have disclosed cash

May 14, 2009 at 2:57 PM   |   Comments

OTTAWA, May 14 (UPI) -- Brian Mulroney said Thursday he would have disclosed his cash relationship with Karlheinz Schreiber if government lawyers had asked the right question.

But because they never asked that question in his 1996 defamation lawsuit against the government, the former prime minister said he only testified he'd met Schreiber "once or twice" for coffee after leaving office -- leaving out that he received at least $225,000 from the German-Canadian to help promote a plan by German conglomerate Thyssen AG to build armored military vehicles in Canada.

"I was told to tell the truth and that's what I did," Mulroney testified on the final day of a three-day inquiry conducted in Ottawa.

When lead commission counsel Richard Wolson argued Mulroney should have mentioned their financial deal, Mulroney replied he was never asked if he'd had a business relationship with Schreiber.

"If I had (been asked that question), I would have answered truthfully," Mulroney said.

Wolson suggested Mulroney's explanation was ludicrous because "nobody" knew about the business agreement outside of Mulroney, Schreiber, a Mulroney confidant and possibly someone in Germany, Canwest News Service reported.

Mulroney said his lawyers had told him not to "volunteer" any information.

Mulroney's dealings with Schreiber -- a German-born Canadian citizen who is a lobbyist, fundraiser and arms dealer -- are the subject of a $14 million inquiry headed by Justice Jeffery Oliphant.

Among the questions the inquiry is investigating is why Schreiber paid Mulroney between $225,000 and $300,000, why the payments were made in cash and whether Mulroney agreed to work for Schreiber before or after he left office.

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