Canadian MP quits, seeks treatment for problem gambling

Raj Grewal quits politics with gambling pronblem

A PROMINENT politician in Canada has resigned following revelations he had a gambling problem and had potentially violated anti-money laundering laws.

Liberal MP Raj Grewal resigned from the House of Commons on November 22, just days after he was nominated to run for a second term in his seat of Brampton East.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police revealed they have been investigating Mr Grewal for months and analysed millions of dollars worth of transactions he made during his time at Parliament Hill. One of the biggest transactions Mr Grewal made was at the Casino de Lac-Leamy.

Read more: Canadian gambling guide

Mr Grewal, who has a strong background in finance and studied law at Osgoode Hall Law School, revealed in his most recent disclosure to the Hill’s Ethics Commissioner that he had lines of credit with Toronto Dominion Bank, Royal Bank of Canada, Bank of Nova Scotia and a joint mortgage with his wife Shikha Kasal.

These unexplained lines of credit eventually led to Mr Grewal’s downfall, despite the investigation into whether he did anything wrong being ongoing. While Mr Grewal declared he was leaving the Hill for personal reasons, the Prime Minister’s Office clarified this, saying he was seeking help for problem gambling which had “led him to incur significant personal debts.”

The Office of the Ethics Commissioner said on November 26 they would continue to investigate any cases of wrongdoing by Mr Grewal despite the 34-year-old quitting his position on the backbench.

Opposition political parties in Canada are questioning whether Mr Grewal abused his position on the House of Commons finance committee, by asking law enforcement agencies about the techniques used in the fight against money laundering.

The Globe and Mail reports that transcripts of the meetings show Mr Grewal had shown a particular interest in how the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre deals with casino deposits of more than $10,000.

Under Canadian law transactions of $10,000 or more must have a proof-of-source document filled out, which is one of the latest ways the Government is trying to curb what is believed to be rampant money laundering via the country’s casinos.

Mr Grewal is yet to resign from his position in the Liberal Caucus a week since his resignation as an MP; and is yet to make a public statement on his resignation.

Media in Canada have spoken to Mr Grewal’s mother, who said he is seeking treatment and was being supported by family and friends.

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