Conservatives had planned to repay Duffy expenses, but balked at amount: reports

Court documents insist the prime minister knew nothing of the affair

OTTAWA – Media reports say RCMP investigators are alleging that the Conservative party had planned to repay Sen. Mike Duffy’s improperly claimed living expenses, but balked when a bill turned out nearly three times higher than expected.

Court documents cited in the reports say Nigel Wright, the prime minister’s chief of staff at the time, stepped in to personally give Duffy $90,000 to reimburse the Senate, believing it was the “proper ethical decision that taxpayers not be out that amount of money.”

The documents are part of a package of information the RCMP provided to an Ontario judge last month as part of an ongoing investigation of Duffy.

The documents reportedly spell out some of the details of the arrangement with Wright, who did not expect to be paid back: Duffy was required to repay the Senate “right away” and to “stop talking to the media about it.”

The documents, which detail conversations between investigators and Wright’s lawyers, also allege others in the Prime Minister’s Office besides Wright knew of the arrangement. Harper was not one of them.

Reports say the documents show Duffy is being investigated by the RCMP for allegations of breach of trust and fraud against the government.

The documents were initially sealed by an Ontario Court of Justice order, but CTV News and The Globe and Mail said they made an application to have them made public in order to report on the contents.

Wright resigned as Harper’s chief of staff in May after publicly admitting his personal payment to Duffy.

Harper has insisted Wright did not tell him about the “gift” until after news of it leaked out.

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