OTTAWA—A government forensic accountant who delved into Mike Duffy’s finances, testified Wednesday about the trail taken by the notorious $90,000 payment to Duffy from the prime minister’s former chief of staff, Nigel Wright.
Mark Grenon, who was contracted by the RCMP to examine the embattled senator’s accounts, was testifying for a second day at Duffy’s trial.
He said the Wright money was first transferred from an American account to a Canadian account on March 25, 2013.
The funds were then moved to an Ottawa law firm, Nelligan O’Brien Payne, and subsequently into Duffy’s bank account.
The Receiver General of Canada then received $90,172.24 from Duffy, Grenon added.
Before this all unfolded, Grenon said Duffy was involved in other financial activities.
On March 22, Duffy refinanced his home in an Ottawa suburb for $91,600. Grenon said $80,000 was transferred to Duffy’s line of credit on the same day.
Duffy has pleaded not guilty to 31 charges include fraud, bribery and breach of trust. The single bribery charge relates to the $90,000 payment.
During court proceedings, Duffy’s lawyer said the Receiver General would have been under the impression the payment came directly from Duffy.
“It makes it appear, doesn’t it, at the end of the day … that Nigel Wright’s $90,000 … came from Sen. Duffy?” Bayne asked.
“In the eyes of the Receiver General? Yes it does,” Grenon said.
Grenon also told court money could have been concealed with the advice of a forensic accountant.
“Look, I didn’t say he did it perfectly,” Bayne said.
“I don’t think this was done with the intent to hide,” Grenon said.
The RCMP also investigated Wright, but no charges were laid.
Wright maintained he gave the senator the money to ensure taxpayers did not have to foot the bill for Duffy’s questioned expenses.
Grenon also analyzed other aspects of Duffy’s financial situation and said the senator filed federal and provincial taxes as an Ontario resident up until 2013, when the expense scandal first erupted. He was named to the Senate as a member from Prince Edward Island.
The accountant has already testified that Duffy’s finances were precarious during his time as a senator, with more money going out than coming in.
He said the senator kept things going by tapping a line of credit, which at one point had risen to $100,000.
Ontario Justice Charles Vaillancourt still has to determine if Grenon’s testimony will be entered as fact for the purposes of the trial.
Proceedings will last until the end of the week before the trial goes on a summer break.