Thursday, May 14, 2009

Questions for Mulroney at the Oliphant Inquiry

Open Ended Questions
Over and over today, Mulroney testified that back in 1996 in his law suit against the government, he said he had no dealings with Schreiber because the lawyers didn't ask the right questions. The lawyers at the Oliphant inquiry should not make the same mistake. Citing his excuse that he wasn't asked a broad enough question in 1996, Wolson should request the latitude to ask Mulroney extremely broad, extremely carefully-worded questions with several iterations to make sure that Mulroney isn't slipping in any weasel words (like "I had had"). In all your life, Mr. Mulroney, did Mr. Schreiber ever give you any money other than the three payments at x, x and x? Have you ever received cash payment on any other occasions? Have you ever made a tax disclosure in a year after your taxes? When and how much and why? And so on.

Thousand Dollar Bills
The lawyers need to drill down on what Mulroney did with all those $1,000 bills. I believe he said he gave them to members of his family: When? What did they do with them? There were, after all, either 225 or 300 of them, and they're not easy to pass. What happened to the ones he claims to have put in a safety deposit box in New York?

If he says he can't remember, the only explanation could be that he deals in huge quantities of cash so regularly that those $1,000 bills blended in with the rest. In that case, Wolson should ask him probing questions about how often he handled such large quantities of cash, and why; and about other occasions on which he had $1,000 bills. Mulroney claims he didn't have to pay taxes on the money till he spent it; does that mean that he handed out the cash in 1999/2000, when he fessed up to CRA and paid his back taxes?

The "Retainer"
Mulroney has said that his interpretation of tax law was that he didn't have to pay tax on the $300,000 he got from Schreiber until he spent it, because it was a retainer. If that's true, why did he declare the money under a voluntary disclosure law that allows Canadians to come clean about unpaid tax? Why not just declare it in the usual way?

If the questions get smart enough, I wonder if Mulroney has a Plan B: probably a faked-up medical emergency. Just a guess.


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