Wednesday, December 12, 2007

 

Basi-Virk defence slams government

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BASI-VIRK DEFENCE SLAMS PROVINCIAL GOVT

By BILL TIELEMAN

24 HOURS - 11 December 2007

The defence in the B.C. Legislature Raid case slammed the provincial government repeatedly yesterday, alleging it considered putting B.C. Rail into bankruptcy to aid its privatization and warning that Premier Gordon Campbell will spend "ample" time being cross-examined.

And lawyers for former government aides David Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi alleged in B.C. Supreme Court that senior deputy minister Chris Trumpy was in conflict of interest during the sale of B.C. Rail and that it is provincial "perversity" to withhold information the accused need to defend themselves.

But a government lawyer fired back, categorically denying the province was acting "in some political fashion."

Michael Bolton, lawyer for David Basi, told Justice Elizabeth Bennett that a summary of legal advice the government claims solicitor-client privilege over shows it considered putting B.C. Rail into bankruptcy protection through the federal Creditors' Companies Arrangement Act.

"Bankruptcy for B.C. Rail was one of the things the government was looking at to facilitate the sale of the freight division," Bolton said.

Virk's lawyer Kevin McCullough alleged Trumpy was in conflict because he was on a B.C. Rail deal evaluation committee and later chief negotiator while chairing the B.C. Investment Management Corporation that held more than $350 million in shares of CN Rail, the successful bidder.

Trumpy resigned from the BCIMC, which invests public-sector pension funds.

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