Thursday, December 28, 2006

3 years ago today - December 28, 2003 - BC Legislature raided by police

Hard to believe it was December 28, 2003 when British Columbians learned their Legislature was being searched by police in a case alleged to involve organized crime at the highest levels, drugs and big money.

Three years later and we still await the beginning of the most important political scandal trial since 1958, when Robert Sommers - forests minister in the Social Credit provincial government of W.A.C. Bennett was found guilty of bribery for his dealings with big logging companies.

Jump forward to today - the long-awaited trial of former top BC Liberal government ministerial aides David Basi and Bob Virk for alleged breach of trust, and government communications officer Aneal Basi for alleged money laundering, will not likely start until March 2007.

They are charged in connection with the biggest privatization in BC history - the $1 billion sale of BC Rail by Premier Gordon Campbell - and the allegations include claims Basi and Virk provided confidential government information to OmniTRAX, one of the bidders.

Prominent lobbyists Erik Bornmann and Brian Kieran are slated to be key crown witnesses against Basi, Basi and Virk - and neither of them have been charged despite police allegations that they provided benefits and money to the accused.

And while we know more and more about this case - mostly from defence applications and statements - the public is still in the dark about what happened three years ago and why it has taken so long to come to court.

Basi and Virk have recently been interviewed in the Globe and Mail, where they proclaim their innocence. On a more human side, both men say their lives have been seriously damaged by the allegations that cannot be disproved until the trial concludes, leaving them jobless and dependent on family and friends to survive.

I have been following this case since the raids took place and had detailed Basi and Virk's strong connections to the federal Liberal Party and the Paul Martin leadership campaign in BC even before the search warrants were executed.

Here are some of the reports I have filed on this case since the raid. You can find many of these and more items on this blog as well.

On The Tyee website:

Martin’s B.C. soldiers back Dion November 30, 2006

Leg Raid Hearing Intrigue November 9, 2006

BC Leg Case Lurches to Life October 31, 2006

Leg Raid Case: New Charges, New Questions April 4, 2006

Spiderman in a Web of Intrigue May 10, 2005

24 hours newspaper columns and stories:

Erik Bornman drops bid to become lawyer - for now November 21, 2006

Erik Bornman's bid to become lawyer may not happen anytime soon November 17, 2006

More questions afoot on BC Legislature raid case October 17, 2006

There are still several columns online that I wrote for the Georgia Straight in past years on this case:

Basi Hirings, Firings Intrigue January 13, 2005

Warrants Raise Tough Questions for Libs September 16, 2004

Probe Throws Light on the Liberal Players March 17, 2004

Police Raids and BC Rail March 10, 2004

Raids Prompt Revelations of Martin-Campbell Connections January 7, 2004

And a blog website with various information on this case can be found at The Legislature Raids

Stay tuned in the new year for much, much more.

3 comments:

Jo5ey said...

Having read Bills' account and that in the Globe and Mail, I can only say "cry baby cry", who got you into the situation you are. None other then you. The most telling comment is that of Virk who says, quote "when you're thinking about this and why we were treated in a certain way and OTHERS (my caps) were treated differently. This tells me he is not talking about Bornman or his partner, as he does not name them but does so further along his tearfull tale. No dought, there is bigger fish involved here then Bornman and his associate. As to the Racism faction, well when did you ever hear someone with Indo background say "yes, it is my fault", no, no,no, it is so much easier to gain "bleeding heart" support if you can make people think you are a "target". that Globe and Mail exercise is "political" and for personal gain only. Jo5ey

Gazetteer said...

Thanks for the archive Mr. T.

Something that might be helpful for us all, once the trial actually begins, might be a visual chart with arrows and brief notes pointing out the connections between all of the various players involved.

.

Bill Tieleman said...

Thanks for your comment and good suggestion Gazetter. I hope to be doing some of that work on www.thetyee.ca and will see if a chart is possible - it would be quite a big one!