OTTAWA Brian Mulroney confirmed through his lawyer today that he urged the editor-in-chief of the Globe and Mail not to publish a 2003 report that revealed he took cash from Karlheinz Schreiber.
In a brief statement to the Oliphant Commission, Mr. Mulroney's lawyer Guy Pratte responded to Tuesday's back-and-forth allegations between the former prime minister and Edward Greenspon, the Globe's editor-in-chief.
“I just wanted to clarify something for the record,” said Mr. Pratte.
“Mr. Mulroney has already testified that he had several conversations with [lawyer and author William] Kaplan, during which he requested that his commercial relationship with Mr. Schreiber not be published and he explained to you that it was in order to protect his family.
"He also acknowledges, Mr. Commissioner, that similar requests were made of the editor of The Globe and Mail, for the same reason. That's all I have to say.”
Mr. Mulroney told the Oliphant Commission on Tuesday that The Globe and Mail suppressed a story about him, prompting the newspaper's editor-in-chief to reveal that the former prime minister tried to strike a deal in 2003 to block an article that said he received cash payments from Karlheinz Schreiber.
At the time, November 2003, The Globe was about to publish a three-part series by Mr. Kaplan, the final instalment of which included the first in-depth account of the cash relationship between Mr. Mulroney and Mr. Schreiber.
Mr. Mulroney told the inquiry on Tuesday that an unpublished fourth story contained information, which he did not describe, that he wanted made public.
That story never appeared, he said. “There were four articles and I was counting very heavily on the fourth, which is why I co-operated with [Mr. Kaplan] in regards to the others,” Mr. Mulroney said.
The comments drew a written response from Globe editor-in-chief Edward Greenspon, who said that no fourth article was ever contemplated.
In the letter, Mr. Greenspon told the inquiry's lead commission counsel that Mr. Mulroney offered to provide new information in exchange for The Globe not publishing Mr. Kaplan's revelations about the cash payments.
“Mr. Mulroney contacted me several times trying to appeal to me not to publish the story,” Mr. Greenspon wrote.
“In at least one of the conversations, Mr. Mulroney offered to trade me information about a story that he said was explosive and would be of greater interest to The Globe than Mr. Kaplan's story about the cash payments.”
Mr. Greenspon stated that the offer was declined.
“I told Mr. Mulroney that if the story he was offering was true and verifiable that it would be in his interest to tell it to me in any case and that we would pursue it. He did and we did. Unfortunately, it was not verifiable,” the letter said.