Thursday, June 12, 2014

This Day In Snookland...The Mexican Connection(s).


The old connection, from Keith Fraser in the Province written in the wake of the six million dollar prior inducement (my opinion) in early 2011:

Two former ministerial aides who pleaded guilty in the B.C. Rail scandal were acting without the knowledge of their political bosses, wiretaps suggest.

The wiretaps, newly released by the B.C. Supreme Court, reveal scenes of political skulduggery and backroom intrigue, complete with code names.

Dave Basi and Bob Virk refer to then-premier Gordon Campbell as "Caesar," and Martin Brown, Campbell's former chief of staff, as the "little dictator."

In a statement of facts they admitted that they disclosed confidential information about the proposed sale of the operations of the B.C. Rail port subdivision to Bruce Clark, who was a consultant to the Washington Marine Group, one of the bidders.

Clark, a member of the Liberal Party of Canada's B.C. executive, is brother to Liberal leadership contender Christy Clark.

He's referred to as the "Mexican" or "Mexico City" in the Basi Virk code....

The new connection, from Bob Mackin's Tyee piece on the latest Sparkle Pony investor gaggle:

A team of former federal Liberal backroom strategists has partnered with a technology startup specialist and an executive from a Mexican-owned telecom with a dream of building a $10-billion oil refinery on B.C.'s north coast...

{snippety doodle dandy}

...Mark Marissen, a one-time lobbyist for Enbridge, is listed as executive vice-president of communications and research on Pacific Future Energy Corp.'s masthead. Marissen and Premier Christy Clark were once married, and share joint custody of a son. Marissen worked on Clark's 2013 election campaign, leading Clark to make the extraordinary pledge not to be involved in any cabinet discussion or decision about oil refineries....

{snippety doodle-dandier}

...Roop Virk is the Chilliwack-based chief of staff. The former policy chair for the federal Liberals in B.C., Virk worked with Marissen on St├ęphane Dion's winning Liberal leadership campaign. Virk attended a posh Christmas party thrown by Marissen for a close circle of Liberals last December at the Glowbal Restaurant in Yaletown...

{snippety doodle-dandiest)

...On April 3, Virk was registered in B.C. to lobby for Azteca, a telecommunications company which lists its business address in Bogota, Colombia. The subject matter was listed on Virk's form as "information technology" and the intended outcomes were "examining and gathering information on best practices." The target contacts for the March 1-Aug. 1 undertaking are (Premier Christy) Clark and Andrew Wilkinson, minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizen Services. Under B.C.'s lobbyist act, there is no requirement to disclose whether meetings took place.

Azteca is owned by the Mexican conglomerate Grupo Salinas. Azteca's CEO is Samer F. Salameh, who is also executive chair of Pacific Future Energy.

Regarding the 'new' connection, which also includes that most excellent connection destination (i.e. Bogota), please note that the lobbyist in the mix, who works for the fine fellow from Mexico who is the CEO of the whole shebang, has registered to take a run both at Mr. Wilkinson and 'The-Recuser-In-Chief' herself, Ms. Clark.

Not that is really matters, I guess, because if Ms. Clark does meet with said lobbyist I'm sure she will have already received the blessing of the current Conflict(y) Commissioner.

Norm Farrell has another really great post up that details yet another give away of Sparkle Ponies that we have in hand right here and right now....



Lew said...

Can’t resist commenting about the prior inducement angle again in light of your opening sentence and the Auditor General’s recent report on the case.

Geoff Plant stated, “What is clear is that there was no legally binding deal. There couldn’t be. The waiver of recovery of fees was not and could not be an inducement to plead guilty. As a matter of law they were not connected.”

The Auditor General states in his report, “On October 14, 2010, the Assistant Deputy Attorney General of Legal Services Branch sent defence counsel a letter accompanied by a proposed form of the Agreement to Release. The letter stated that if Mr. Basi and Mr. Virk each pleaded guilty as they proposed, were convicted, met certain other administrative requirements, and signed the attached Agreement to Release, the Province would also sign the agreement. By doing so, this would amend the indemnity agreements to remove Mr. Basi’s and Mr. Virk’s potential obligation to repay their legal fees.”

The letter the Auditor General references was actually a letter of agreement, and it required Basi and Virk to plead guilty on the counts and under the terms as required by the Special Prosecutor, not as “they proposed”. It contained a lot more substance and legal terms than the Auditor General relates, and required the defendants to sign the letter as acceptance of the offer made within by the Crown. It was the legally binding deal Mr. Plant says couldn’t exist, directly connecting the guilty pleas to the waiver. Deputy Attorney General Loukidelis publicly stated on October 20, 2010 that the defendants were being released from certain conditions of the October 14, 2010 agreement. Why would they have to be released if it wasn’t a legally binding agreement?

The Auditor General also states, “They pleaded guilty with the understanding that, as a result of the agreement to release, their guilty pleas would not result in an obligation to repay the legal costs funded under their indemnity agreements.”

Actually, the “understanding” was not because of the agreement to release, which hadn’t and wouldn’t be signed by the Crown until the defendants delivered their part of the contract; the “understanding” was because of the contract they had in their back pockets requiring the Crown to sign the agreement to release if they pleaded guilty and were convicted. You know the one; it’s the contract Geoff Plant says couldn’t exist.

RossK said...

Thanks Lew!


Mr. Beer N. Hockey said...

Too bad, as one might conclude from last night's Ontario Smellection, corruption, scandal, downright criminality have become giving the people what they want.