FORMER Brampton East MP Raj Grewal, who the Prime Minister’s Office announced last week resigned from the Liberal caucus and as MP because of “a gambling problem that led him to incur significant personal debts,” has been under RCMP investigation for months, The Globe and Mail newspaper reported on Tuesday.
The RCMP have been tracking the millions of dollars in transactions that Grewal reportedly spent and sometimes even his movements, sources told the newspaper.
Grewal spent millions of dollars over the past three years, including at the Casino du Lac-Leamy, which Loto-Québec runs across the Ottawa River from Parliament Hill, The Gloeb and Mail reported.
His “gambling activities triggered the disclosure requirements of the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC), under which casinos must report transactions of more than $10,000 a day,” according to the newspaper.
It also said that sources said the RCMP recently informed the House of Commons of their investigation as they wanted Grewal’s parliamentary records.
The newspaper also reported: “In January, Raj Grewal and his girlfriend, Shikha Kasal, bought two condo suites at 311 Bay St. in Toronto for $1,295,575, secured with an HSBC Canada mortgage of $1,499,999.
“Mr. Grewal and Ms. Kasal, also a lawyer, married on July 22 and, by early August, a Brampton, Ont.-based numbered company, 2206492 Ontario Inc., placed a lien against one of their suites. Ms. Kasal was discharged from the lien on Nov. 16, less than a week before Mr. Grewal resigned, meaning she is no longer accountable for it.
“Beyond the lien against the condo suite, three other 2018 liens list Mr. Grewal as a co-debtor. In late April, Mr. Grewal and another man leased a 2018 Jeep Wrangler valued at $45,802; and in mid-November, Mr. Grewal and the other man leased a 2019 RAM truck valued at $56,421.”
The Globe and Mail said that last August, Grewal and ZGemi Inc., a Brampton construction company, secured a Bank of Nova Scotia loan for a 2017 Land Rover valued at $116,824.
The Ethics Commissioner is holding an inquiry under the Conflict of Interest into Grewal’s invitation to Yusuf Yenilmez, who heads the Brampton construction company, Zgemi Inc., and who was paying Grewal for legal advice, to a reception that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attended during his India visit last February.
The VOICE reported last May that in a letter to NDP MP Charlie Angus, the Ethics Commissioner said he decided to launch an inquiry into Grewal after he “carefully considered” written submissions from the Brampton East MP and other documents his office had gathered.
Angus told a newspaper that he still wants the Ethics Commissioner’s findings to be made public.
THE Globe and Mail also reported that even as the RCMP were investigating Grewal’s gambling activities, he, as a member of the House of Commons finance committee, was questioning senior officials in the RCMP and other law-enforcement agencies earlier this year about how they investigate money laundering.
“Grewal was interested in the ability of federal agencies to investigate and prosecute money-laundering activities, asking how many convictions were obtained in a given year,” the newspaper reported.
Back in February, Grewal asked: “How many resources does FINTRAC have to go after each little $10,000 transaction? If I’m money laundering, I’m not doing transactions in the millions to catch attention. I’m doing them at the $10,000, $15,000 limit to get away with it.”
Grewal also asked officials: “How is the data collection by FINTRAC? Is it easily accessible when they’re submitting data to you guys? Can you guys slice and dice it the way you need to, or are there shortcomings that we could improve on the FINTRAC side?”
In May, Grewal asked FINTRAC officials about their ability to decide which transactions – out of the 19 million that they analyze every year – deserve special attention, the Globe and Mail reported.
He asked them: “You’re seeing electronic fund transfers. That’s $10,000 or more sent by a wire transfer in or out of this country. What if it’s a cash transaction, or a certified cheque that’s being withdrawn? Is that the exact same thing? If I’m buying a car and I take a certified cheque from my bank account, is that sent to FINTRAC as well?”