Canadian Member of Parliament (MP) Raj Grewal has stepped down from his high-ranking post, alluding to life-impacting issues without personally acknowledging a gambling problem that's thrown him into significant debt.
Grewal — a Liberal Party MP who was nominated to run again in the next federal election — was vague when he relinquished his role last week, saying only that it was “a decision I’ve struggled with for some time now.”
But Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's press secretary Chantal Gagnon shed more light on the reasons for his resignation.
Mr. Grewal told us that he is undergoing serious personal challenges,” Gagnon said in an issued statement, “and that he is receiving treatment from a health professional related to a gambling problem that led him to incur significant personal debts.”
Trudeau's office claimed it had no knowledge of any police investigations into Grewal, however.
Transactions by the Millions
Several Canadian news outlets reached out to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in an attempt to find out if Grewal’s gambling activities are under scrutiny, but received no feedback.
“We are not in a position to confirm details about any ongoing investigations,” Danny Marttini-Chapman of the Peel Regional Police told CBC News.
But Canada's Globe and Mail news site reported that the RCMP has indeed been keeping tabs on the 33-year-old politician.
An anonymous source with “direct knowledge of the investigation” told the Globe that police are looking into millions of dollars spent by Grewal over the last few years. Several of those transactions took place at the Casino du Lac-Leamy, located near Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario where Grewal has worked as an MP since 2015.
Police reportedly went as far as to occasionally follow Grewal as he left work for the casino, according to the source, who also says that investigators are now attempting to gain access to all government records involving Grewal.
Government and RCMP officials are refusing to verify any of the claims, but neither are they denying them.
Scandals in the North
Canadian casinos and controversy have gone hand-in-hand this year.
Provincial politicians in British Columbia (BC) were accused of turning a blind eye to criminal activity after a report called “Dirty Money” revealed that international crime syndicates were using local casinos to launder their ill-acquired cash.
That report launched multiple new investigations and regulations, including the use of third-party “cash babysitters” who now must monitor all large cash transactions in the province's bigger casinos.
The owners of the swanky new Parq Casino in downtown Vancouver claim the new anti-money-laundering rules are to blame for $108 million in losses in 2018 so far.
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