It seems Fred Doucet has some ‘splaining to do…
Fred Doucet, Brian Mulroney’s former chief of staff, received a list from Air Canada detailing how many Airbus aircraft had been delivered to the airline in the early 1990s, contradicting Mr. Doucet’s sworn testimony that he has “no knowledge at all about anything involving Airbus.”
The fax, as well as three letters written by Mr. Doucet, are the first indication that someone in Mr. Mulroney’s inner circle expressed interest in the airplane sale before it erupted as a public scandal.
The airplane delivery schedule received by Mr. Doucet outlines how many Airbus A320s were delivered to Air Canada between 1990 and 1993. The date stamp indicates the former prime ministerial aide received the fax on Aug. 27, 1993, at 3:50 p.m.
At that time, Karlheinz Schreiber was sitting in the back of a limousine on his way to Quebec’s Mirabel airport to meet Mr. Mulroney and pay him at least $75,000 in cash – a meeting that Mr. Doucet has previously acknowledged he arranged. That payment, as well as two other cash payments Mr. Schreiber made to the former prime minister shortly after he left office, are the focus of a coming public inquiry.
The fax, as well as three previously undisclosed letters written by Mr. Doucet, were supplied to The Globe and Mail and CBC’s the fifth estate by Mr. Schreiber. The letters, which were written between 1992 and 1994, make a number of references to the airplanes, and in one instance Mr. Doucet uses a code word, “The Birds,” to describe the jetliners.
“Should the documents prove to be genuine, this new evidence has blown the whole Airbus affair wide open,” said Paul Szabo, a Liberal MP and the former chair of the House of Commons ethics committee, which last year launched a probe of the cash payments accepted by Mr. Mulroney.
After reviewing the documents for the first time last night, Mr. Szabo said he will consult with parliamentary lawyers because the material “raises questions of contempt of Parliament.”
A CBC News investigation has learned that on the same day Mulroney received his first envelope of cash from German-Canadian businessman Karlheinz Schreiber at a hotel in Mirabel airport, Doucet, who had arranged the meeting between the two men, received a fax from Air Canada outlining the delivery schedule of Airbus airplanes to Air Canada.
The Aug. 27, 1993, fax from Air Canada’s manager of investor relations, Denis Biro, itemized the delivery of 34 Airbus planes between 1990 and 1993.
That was important to Doucet because he was interested in determining how much money was left in the secret 1988 deal between Airbus Industrie and a Liechtenstein shell company, International Aircraft Leasing, or IAL.
The fax and other documents that Schreiber has provided to CBC News and the upcoming Oliphant Commission looking into the financial dealings between Schreiber and Mulroney appear to contradict Doucet’s testimony before the ethics committee.
In fact, letters and correspondence among Schreiber, Doucet, and lobbyist and former Newfoundland premier Frank Moores reveal that Doucet was involved in an in-depth effort to determine how much money was available from the Airbus deal.
NOTE TO THE PRESS GALLERY: Still think there’s no story here?