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Mila Mulroney offered support to Mrs. Schreiber

From Monday's Globe and Mail

Mila Mulroney wrote a reassuring letter to the wife of Karlheinz Schreiber around the same time that, according to Mr. Schreiber's recently sworn affidavit, the German-Canadian deal maker was being asked to sign a document that confirmed his business relationship with former prime minister Brian Mulroney.

Mrs. Mulroney's letter is handwritten on her personal letterhead and dated Jan. 24, 2000, which is about two weeks after Mr. Schreiber alleges he refused to sign a document that would act as an after-the-fact explanation for cash payments he gave to Mr. Mulroney.

“I had wanted to put pen to paper sooner. But at times like these words do not seem adequate,” Mrs. Mulroney wrote to Mr. Schreiber's wife, Barbel Schreiber.

“I know what you are going through. It is never easy when our husbands have difficulties. Rest assured that it will pass. Things will get better, you have an excellent lawyer and the truth is certainly the best weapon.”

[Also read today's main story Dion alleges: 'There is a coverup somewhere']

Luc Lavoie, a spokesman for Mr. Mulroney, explained that Mrs. Mulroney's letter was an effort to help Mrs. Schreiber cope with the arrest of her husband and the extradition proceedings that had commenced against him.

“It was a courtesy letter sent to a woman that was going through difficulties. There's no other meaning to it,” Mr. Lavoie said.

Mr. Schreiber was arrested by the RCMP at the request of the German government on Aug. 31, 1999, about five months before the date on Mrs. Mulroney's letter.

There is no evidence Mrs. Mulroney was aware of any of the payments, which did not become public until 2003, or that she was aware of attempts under way, according to the recent Schreiber affidavit, to get Mr. Schreiber to sign a document relating to the 1993-94 payments.

But the letter seems to contradict comments from the Mulroney camp in late 1999. At that time, Mr. Lavoie said it was “a myth” that Mr. Mulroney and Mr. Schreiber were close.

According to Mr. Schreiber's sworn affidavit, as well as what he has said in past interviews, there were more immediate events taking place when Mrs. Mulroney's letter turned up in his mailbox.

In the months and weeks leading up to the arrival of Mrs. Mulroney's letter, there had been a series of private discussions and meetings between the respective representatives of both Mr. Schreiber and Mr. Mulroney, almost all revolving around a closely guarded secret – that the former prime minister accepted $300,000 in cash from Mr. Schreiber over three meetings between 1993 and 1994.

Specifically, Mrs. Mulroney's letter coincided with a series of meetings that Mr. Schreiber says he had with one of Mr. Mulroney's oldest friends and long-time political advisers, Fred Doucet.

According to Mr. Schreiber, he met with Mr. Doucet three times in the weeks leading up to Mrs. Mulroney's letter, as well as twice after the letter arrived. Mr. Schreiber has provided photocopies of his day-planner notebook where he has made a note – “Fred” – on four of the days he says he met Mr. Doucet.

Mr. Schreiber states in his affidavit that, at one of those meetings in early 2000, “Mr. Doucet presented to me a draft document that Mr. Mulroney requested I sign in order to confirm the terms of our agreement.”

According to Mr. Schreiber's affidavit, the document outlined services, presumably to be performed by Mr. Mulroney: “including travelling abroad to meet with government and private sector leaders to assist in opening new markets for our products and to report regularly to us in this regard.” There are no signatures on the document, which is titled “Mandate.”

Mr. Schreiber says that he refused to sign the document.

If Mr. Schreiber's affidavit is accurate, it's not clear why Mr. Doucet waited until 2000 to obtain a written confirmation of the financial relationship between the German-Canadian lobbyist and Mr. Mulroney. Mr. Mulroney's spokesman, Mr. Lavoie, has said that it was Mr. Doucet who arranged for Mr. Mulroney to receive the cash payments in 1993 and 1994. According to Mr. Schreiber and Mr. Lavoie, Mr. Doucet was present when Mr. Mulroney received the last cash instalment at New York's Pierre Hotel on Dec. 8, 1994. If the affidavit is accurate, it is unknown why Mr. Doucet did not present the contract at this or an earlier point.

Besides issuing a statement that addresses a different allegation in Mr. Schreiber's affidavit, Mr. Doucet has refused to answer questions about the alleged meetings.

Mrs. Mulroney's letter of comfort was the only correspondence that Mrs. Schreiber has received from the former prime minister's wife, Mr. Schreiber said in a recent interview. The couple had previously met Mrs. Mulroney on June 13, 1991, when they attended a luncheon in Bonn, Germany, hosted by the country's former chancellor, Helmut Kohl, Mr. Schreiber said.

When asked why Mrs. Mulroney waited until five months after Mr. Schreiber's arrest to date the letter, Mr. Lavoie said: “I don't know that.”

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