The strange case of the safety deposit box - Macleans.ca

The strange case of the safety deposit box

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I didn’t get a chance to watch much of the Mulroney testimony today — I was travelling — but I did catch this exchange, faithfully recounted by the incomparable KDO:

10:20:15 AM

Oh, thank goodness — the safety deposit box in New York, which is at least marginally more interesting than Schreiber’s voluminous one-way correspondence; Auger [Schreiber’s lawyer] has a letter from the bank confirming that Mulroney hadn’t ‘visited the box’ since 2006 — wait, does that mean the money is still there? — although it does note that it was possible he visited the box on December 13, 1999, when the lock was changed. Wait, who is saying this? Anyway, Mulroney has no recollection of any of that, although as Auger points out, that would coincide with when he determined that the money was income.

10:24:19 AM

Okay, according to the bank, the lock was changed “at Mulroney’s request* — this, despite the fact that he insists that he has no recollection of doing so. Not to mention the serendipitous timing, what with it happening just before the Boxing Day meeting between Doucet and Schreiber.

What? Never mind that he can’t remember changing his own lock. He changed the lock?? Why do you need to change the lock to a safety deposit box to which you alone have access? Or did someone else have a key?

MOREOVER: The whole safety deposit box thing, I have to say, is a bit of a puzzle. If I have Mulroney’s story straight, he went down to New York in December of 1994 knowing nothing about any further payment from Schreiber, then took the $75,000 in cash he received from him at their Pierre Hotel meeting and stowed it in his safety deposit box — which he had set up months before at a branch of the Chemical Bank, of which he was a director. It was to hold “sensitive documents,” he said, related to some business he was doing for another client.

I was talking this over with a colleague today, and we were both stumped by that last bit. Why do you need a safety deposit box in New York to hold these documents? Can’t you take them home with you and put them in your safe there? Or, if you must, in a safety deposit box in Montreal? They’re so sensitive you can’t even get on a plane with them? What am I missing here?

STILLMOREOVER: So maybe he made this part up? But why? Why do you need a cover story to explain why you happen to have a safety deposit box on hand in which to stow your sudden and unexpected windfall? So you have a safety deposit box in New York: so what? Or suppose that’s a lie: you arranged for the safety deposit box only after Schreiber gave you the cash. Again: so what?