Former Liberal MP Raj Grewal was committed to stand trial on Wednesday over allegations that he used his political position to solicit millions of dollars in loans, did not inform the federal ethics commissioner about these loans, and further misused his government-funded constituency office budget.
Grewal left the Liberal caucus in 2018 due to a gambling addiction, and did not run for re-election in his Ontario seat in Brampton East in 2019. He’s charged with four counts of breach of trust and one count of fraud over $5,000.
Grewal attended the hearing on Monday and Tuesday, sitting in the courtroom, but was absent on Wednesday.
The next court date is Nov. 8 for a judicial pre-trial conference.
The preliminary inquiry was held in-person in court and was broadcast over Zoom for the public to watch.
An extensive criminal investigation into Grewal began in September 2017 after the RCMP received proactive disclosures of suspicious transaction reports from FINTRAC, Canada’s Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre.
When Grewal resigned from the Liberal caucus, he said his family and friends lent him money but said everyone was now paid back.
After leaving politics, he returned to private practice as a lawyer, but the Law Society of Ontario also opened its own investigation into the allegations.
In February, the Law Society Tribunal agreed to suspend its hearing until Grewal’s criminal case is dealt with in court and was allowed to continue practising law but with restrictions and monitoring of his activities by the Law Society.
Grewal’s lawyer, Nader Hasan, admitted to the tribunal that Grewal was struggling with a gambling addiction while receiving large loans from many different sources.
Hasan said “the root of what gave rise to this constellation of facts was a gambling problem. Mr. Grewal, since 2018, has been confronting this issue head on and sought medical treatment for the gambling issue.”
“There has been an unbroken chain, since virtually the first quarter of 2019 through to now, that Mr. Grewal is doing very well and that to the extent there was a gambling issue that issue is in remission.”
National post reported that “the tribunal also heard that Grewal entered into self-exclusion programs with gambling authorities in Ontario and Quebec, promised to not borrow money directly or indirectly from any client except in accordance with law society regulations, and to abstain from gambling, both in person and online. He told the tribunal he hasn’t gambled since 2018.” This article was originally sourced by National Post.