Wednesday, May 19, 2010

 

BC Rail corruption trial May 19, 2010

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Basi, Virk got $50,000 from BC Rail bidder: Crown

By Neal Hall And Lori Culbert, Vancouver Sun - May 19, 2010
Read the story HERE.
http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Basi+Virk+from+Rail+bidder+Crown/3042852/story.html
Visit online articles for photos, YouTubes.

{Snip} .... The Crown expects to call about 30 witnesses to testify about events that took place between April 2002 and December 2003.

The jury will have to determine whether Basi and Virk gave sensitive and confidential information to Pilothouse and also Bruce Clark, who was representing the Washington Group, another bidder.

Clark is the brother of former deputy premier Christy Clark, who was married to Mark Marissen, a key federal Liberal campaign organizer in B.C.

The trial is expected to hear how Pilothouse tried, in exchange for the alleged leak of confidential BC Rail bid information, to arrange job opportunities for Dave Basi and Bob Virk in the form of chief-of-staff positions if then Liberal leader Paul Martin became prime minister.

Two former B.C. cabinet ministers, Collins and Reid, will also testify about their dealings with Basi and Virk and the levels of confidentiality expected to be maintained by the ministerial aides.

Wiretapped phone conversations will be used as evidence to show the relationships between Basi, Virk and the principals of Pilothouse, the Crown said.

The sale of BC Rail is controversial because Premier Gordon Campbell made an election promise not to sell off the publicly owned railway.

But once elected in 2001, the government decided to auction off the freight division of BC Rail. It was announced in November 2003 that CN Rail was the winning bidder. The $1-billion sale was finalized in 2004.

But the government, after the raid on the legislative offices of Basi and Virk in December 2003, cancelled the planned sale of a BC Rail spur line to the Roberts Bank coal terminal after learning from the RCMP that the bidding process was tainted.

nhall@vancouversun.com

lculbert@vancouversun.com

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CNR’s C$1 Billion Acquisition of BC Rail Rigged, Lawyer Says

By Joe Schneider
Read the story HERE.
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601082&sid=a33n4FzGfFz4

May 19 (Bloomberg) -- Canadian National Railway Co.’s C$1 billion ($956 million) acquisition of government-owned BC Rail Ltd. in 2003 was rigged from the start, with British Columbia’s premier intent on handing the operation over to a former fundraiser, a lawyer said.
________________________


BC Mary comment: Robin Mathews met Joe in the BC Supreme Courtroom on Tuesday and got a good impression.

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Liberal aide Bobby Virk leaked secret B.C. Rail bid numbers: Prosecutor

 Says bidder likely got info even before committee


By Keith Fraser,
The Province  - May 19, 2010
Read more HERE.
http://www.theprovince.com/news/Virk+leaked+secret+numbers/3045937/story.html


Former Liberal government aide Bobby Virk leaked the confidential bid numbers for the sale of B.C. Rail shortly after they were received but before a government evaluation committee got them, a prosecutor said Tuesday.

Special prosecutor Bill Berardino told a B.C. Supreme Court jury that Virk, charged with breach of trust and fraud, went to the offices of the lobbyist firm Pilothouse Public Affairs and gave lobbyist Eric Bornmann the bid numbers received by a senior civil servant June 30, 2003.

Bornmann was acting on behalf of OmniTRAX, a Denver-based railway company and one of the bidders for B.C. Rail. {Snip} ...

Read more: http://www.theprovince.com/news/Virk+leaked+secret+numbers/3045937/story.html#ixzz0oNoPYgjp

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Corruption trial over $1B sale of B.C. Rail opens

Brian Hutchinson
National Post - May 19, 2010
http://www.nationalpost.com/news/canada/story.html?id=3045794

The $1-billion sale of B.C. Rail was compromised by corrupt political appointees who exchanged insider information for almost $50,000 in illicit cash and gifts from a Victoria lobbying firm and its U.S. client, a company that was bidding for the historic Crown corporation, B.C. Supreme Court was told yesterday.

Details of the allegations and the troubled sale were described for the first time in open court; jury members heard of a controversial sale subverted by secret negotiations and payments, job offers and broken confidences.

{Snip} ...

He also described how another Crown witness, federal Liberal party insider Mark Marissen, will testify about job opportunities allegedly sought by the defendants, including the position of "chief of staff" for former Liberal leader Paul Martin, in the event he became prime minister.

Mr. Martin did win that position, in December 2003, but none of the accused joined his staff. Mounties raided the B.C. legislative buildings later that month. B.C. Rail was eventually sold to Canadian National Railway Co.

{Snip} ...

The Crown called its first witness yesterday, Martyn Brown, chief of staff to B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell since 2001. He is responsible for overseeing the government's political appointments; both David Basi and Bobby Virk fell into that category. Mr. Brown had hardly begun his testimony when proceedings were bogged down by legal wrangling.

The trial continues today.

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Premier's top aid [sic] testifies at BC Rail trial

By CBC News
CBC News - May 19, 2010
Read more HERE.
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2010/05/19/bc-rail-trial-martyn-brown-testifies.html

The BC Rail corruption trial resumed on Wednesday morning in Vancouver with Premier Gordon Campbell's chief of staff Martyn Brown back on the stand.

On Tuesday Martyn told the court that former B.C. Liberal cabinet aides Bobby Virk and Dave Basi were both political appointees whose positions required the swearing of several oaths to keep government business private and not use their positions for personal gain.

The Crown alleges the pair broke their oaths and received thousands of dollars in cash and meals, tickets to an NFL game in Colorado and offers for a federal political job in exchange for leaking confidential documents, linked to the government's sale of the provincially owned BC Rail corporation.

Virk and Dave Basi are facing charges of fraud and breach of trust, while a third man, communications officer Aneal Basi is charged with money laundering on their behalf.

On Wednesday Brown testified that the aides were constantly advised on the strict limits on their conduct.

"In the first two years of office we were daily helping new employees understand their jobs and that their conduct could never hurt the reputation of the government," said Brown.

"We were constantly reinforcing at morning meetings, telling people repeatedly, 'This is right. This is wrong,' for those who didn't understand," he said.

"You can't take payments, gifts, benefits beyond what you're allowed to do and effectively trade off the position of your office or use your office to gain outside benefits," Brown testified on Tuesday.

The three men were charged following a sensational raid of the B.C. legislature building in Victoria on Dec. 28, 2003, when police armed with search warrants carted away dozens of boxes of evidence from ministerial offices.

At the time, Dave Basi worked for Gary Collins, who was the finance minister, and Virk was employed in the office of then-transportation minister Judith Reid.

BC Mary comment: don't you love the chummy, first-name reference to "Martyn" in Paragraph #2? "On Tuesday, Martyn told the court ..." about how the Campbell government taught their 35,000 employees but especially Basi & Virk, the difference between right and wrong and all that. Like: "We were constantly reinforcing at morning meetings, telling people repeatedly, 'This is right. This is wrong,' for those who didn't understand," he said. 

This is another reason why citizens need to be in the Public Gallery, watching and listening, to know if Martyn kept a straight face while he testified. 


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Basi-Virk Corruption trial hears aides were funneled cash, wined and dined

Published in Victoria Times Colonist, May 19, 2010
HERE.
BY NEAL HALL AND LORI CULBERT 
VANCOUVER SUN - MAY 18, 2010


 STORYPHOTOS ( 8 )
 Photograph by: Ian Smith, Vancouver Sun, Vancouver Sun, With files from Neal Hall and Ian Mulgrew, Vancouver Sun

VANCOUVER - Two B.C. political aides leaked confidential information about the sale of BC Rail and in return were wined and dined, were funneled cash and discussed high-ranking federal political jobs, a special prosecutor said in his opening statement today at a high-profile breach-of-trust trial.
{Big Snip} ... 

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Corruption trial of 3 Indo-Canadians [sic] government workers begins in British Columbia

The Siasat Daily (India) - May 19, 2010
The complete article is HERE.
http://www.siasat.com/english/news/corruption-trial-3-indo-canadians-govt-workers-begins-british-columbia

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Comments:
Funny how Virk leaking stuff matters but others leaking key info doesn't.

Oral Questions

B.C. RAIL PRIVATIZATION PROCESS

Mr. Speaker: The Leader of the Opposition has a supplementary.

J. MacPhail:

...Last month the Minister of Finance assured members of the House that CN in no way received any beneficial information from leaks, but yesterday that part of the story changed too. The Minister of Transportation admitted that highly confidential information was leaked from CIBC World Markets to CN at a critical stage in the supposedly open bidding process — information that was supposed to go only to the winning bidder.

Can the minister…?

Interjection.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Interjection.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The Leader of the Opposition has the floor.

J. MacPhail: I'm sure the Minister of Finance can stand up and answer if he wishes. He's up to his eyeballs in this too.

Can the Minister of Transportation explain how the confidential and competitive information leaked to CN did not give CN a leg up in the bid to buy B.C. Rail?

Hon. K. Falcon: You know, Mr. Speaker, the member knows we canvassed this very extensively in estimates. She's actually got all these answers on the record. This is just the member again trying to spread some misinformation, pretending she's creating new news where none exists. This has been on the public record. I encourage her to read the Charles River Associates report. It very clearly lays out all that information. That was information that was going to the proponent anyhow. They got it a number of weeks earlier, and that was all dealt with in accordance with all the rules brought together….

Interjection.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
 
Ian--

That's some catch, that pre-Trial Catch22, eh?
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eric bornmann, mark marissen, and patrick kinsella should be charged also in this affair.

I am sure, martyn and gordo totally conceiled and protected Patrick in this matter. Otherwise, he is dirtier than basi/virk. Further, eric and mark were the ones who elevated basi/virk to the lofty levels they attained. Mark created a pyramid of core supporters for the martin campaign, and these two did alot of the dirty work. Mark regularly provided eric cash money at Liberal AGM's etc. Once eric broke into the federal liberal office.

How the others were never charged is the greater mystery, as someone has orchestrated that basi/virk be the fall guys and everyone else better clean up their act. During this time, mark marissen controlled alot of the liberal provincial and federal politics. Whether this be delegate, or nomination meetings. Basi/Virk were their INDO GUYS to get the numbers out and do the dirty work.
They got used big time by the man with the cane at burrard ocmmunications.
 
was patrick kinsella involved in those morning meetings?

How dirty is this, christy clark's husband, brother and one of her campaign workers (bornmann) all wrapped up in this.

Is this the only file that bornmann or kinsella worked on with cash payments
 
From the Hall/Culbert article in the Sun:

The sale of BC Rail is controversial because Premier Gordon Campbell made an election promise not to sell off the publicly owned railway.

But once elected in 2001, the government decided to auction off the freight division of BC Rail. It was announced in November 2003 that CN Rail was the winning bidder.


Don't we know for a fact, from Paul Nettleton's account, that it wasn't after they were elected they decided to sell BC Rail? Or is it only that it was brought up at the very first post-election cabinet meeting, and the lot of them instructed/threatened to not say a word about the government's intention to sell the railway, and that they already had a winner chosen.

So tell me, how was CN harmed by BVB, with Bornmann's encouragement, dancing the tango with OmniTRAX in order to maintain the premise/illusion that the bidding process was fair? How's that again, Mr Special Prosecutor - CN was harmed by this - HOW??

Apparently they teach a different kind of logic in some law schools than in others.
 
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