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Eurocopter Greases Palms

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Read a story in the Vancouver Sun the other day about Eurocopter exec's being investigated by the RCMP for paying 1.2 million in "commissions" (READ BRIBES) to win a contract to sell 12 MBB bolkows to the Canadian Coast Guard, several years ago. Kind of a slimy way to do business, but I guess they have to sell the product somehow.



-And wasn't it around the same time, or shortly there-after that Eurocopter made a killer deal with the Mountie's on a couple of Astars. It was almost a two for one deal on the brand new B3's. Now I wonder why they would have done that....

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Was journalist RCMP informant?




From Saturday's Globe and Mail


A lawyer for German deal-maker Karlheinz Schreiber named prominent journalist Stevie Cameron as a confidential RCMP informant last year during two dramatic days of secret hearings over a helicopter-procurement case.


"Tell me that Stevie Cameron was not part of some kind of police investigation," lawyer Edward Greenspan demanded of Crown counsel Michael Bernstein. "Tell me that she wasn't. Tell me that she has no status with the police. Tell me that! Just tell me that she doesn't."


Ms. Cameron, the author of several hard-hitting exposés about the case, vehemently denied Mr. Greenspan's assertion Friday that she is the mysterious informant.


"That theory is absolute horseshit," Ms. Cameron said in an interview. "I was a reporter working for The Globe and Mail on this story years and years ago. I wrote a book about it. Anything I have to say about Mr. Schreiber is in my book. It's all there."


Mr. Greenspan nonetheless has called for a full public inquiry to root out how the entire investigation of deals for purchase of aircraft from Airbus Industrie and Eurocopter during the tenure of prime minister Brian Mulroney was launched - and which federal ministers were privy to details.


"There should be a royal commission now," Mr. Greenspan said in an interview. He said he intends to subpoena Ms. Cameron to testify in a libel suit Mr. Schreiber has brought in Alberta against the federal government. That trial is to resume in the near future.


"In a different forum, I'm confident I will get a ruling that identifies him or her - and I underline her," Mr. Greenspan said of the informant. "I have absolutely no doubt who it is, and I have no doubt this is an enormous scandal. It will all come out."


Mr. Greenspan said it would have been highly irresponsible for the government to act on information provided by Ms. Cameron, saying she had a negative bias toward Mr. Mulroney.


"My big question is, did Prime Minister Jean Chrétien - who also despises Brian Mulroney - know and allow it to go forward?" Mr. Greenspan added.


In his impassioned submission to the secret hearing, Mr. Greenspan questioned how a major investigation could have been launched on the say-so of a journalist, and noted that Herb Gray, solicitor-general of Canada from 1993 to 1997, knew about it.


In an interview Friday, Mr. Gray said the RCMP never told him that it was relying heavily on a confidential informant in its investigation into the Airbus-Eurocopter affair.


He said he was well aware that Ms. Cameron was deeply involved in researching the affair for her books, but he never heard that she might have also acted as an informant for the RCMP.


"Stevie Cameron's role in raising these issues was, I think, widely reported," Mr. Gray said. "I think she has books out in which she made these kinds of allegations."


He said that if Ms. Cameron ever signed a deal with the RCMP to act as an informant, it would be news to him.


"I don't recall being informed about any confidential informant," Mr. Gray added. "Generally, I would be informed about investigations only to the extent that the RCMP considered it appropriate to enable me to answer questions from the press."


Mr. Gray refused to comment on the appropriateness of the RCMP's decisions in the affair, such as reliance on a confidential informant. He said it was up to the police force to conduct its own operations.


"The solicitor-general never got involved in operational matters with respect to starting or carrying out investigating or decisions on the laying of charges," he said. "That's an important point to note."


The investigation into allegations of improper payments in the purchase of jets from Airbus Industrie self-destructed after the Department of Justice sent a letter to Swiss authorities referring to Mr. Mulroney as a suspect. The department later apologized to Mr. Mulroney and paid $2-million to settle a libel suit.


The three-year secret hearing was held to determine whether information underlying RCMP search warrants in connection with allegations that improper payments were made by the aviation firm Messerschmidt-Bolkow-Blohm (now called Eurocopter) in a deal to sell helicopters to the Canadian Coast Guard ought to be released. During the proceedings, Mr. Greenspan mounted a furious assault on what he viewed as a political tinge to the case.


"You would have yourself, in my respectful opinion, an enormous scandal," Mr. Greenspan told Mr. Justice Edward Then. "That would lead to an abuse of power of the worst kind imaginable, where it is possible that a reporter - a political enemy of Brian Mulroney - co-opted a national police force and they have entered into some confidentiality agreement with that writer. . . ."


Mr. Greenspan said such a development would do far more than simply lead to the Eurocopter search warrants being quashed.


"If the RCMP did use a writer - particularly one with a professed dislike for Mr. Mulroney - as a confidential informant, and proceeded to protect her identity to ensure she cannot be rooted out or questioned, what an unbelievable scandal this would be," he said.


"The RCMP would never want that to come out, because if it came out, you have got a scandal on your hands that is, in my respectful submission, bigger than the powder keg I was talking about."


The RCMP allege that shell companies controlled by Mr. Schreiber channelled commission fees in a $26.8-million deal for Eurocopter to supply 12 helicopters to the Canadian Coast Guard.


In late 2002, midway through the secret proceeding, fraud charges were laid against Eurocopter and two top executives: Kurt Pfleiderer and Heinz Pluckthun. Neither Mr. Schreiber nor any Canadian official was charged.


The charges allege that Eurocopter paid more than a million dollars in commissions to help land the contract and that Mr. Pfleiderer and Mr. Pluckthun were its "controlling minds."


However, it emerged yesterday that the two men stand virtually no chance of ever being tried. Eurocopter lawyer Paul Schabas said the German government simply does not extradite its citizens for the category of offence the two executives face.


"I've been told by the the Crown they cannot be extradited," Mr. Schabas said in an interview.


He described the sole charge against Eurocopter as targeting innocent executives of a Canadian subsidiary who actually protested against any consideration of commission payments.


"There is no evidence that the coast guard paid too much," Mr. Schabas said. "We are now down to one charge against a company relating to events that happened 17 years ago - when the company was under different ownership and different management - over something where there is no suggestion that any commission was actually paid to the Canadian government."


Thousands of pages of documents, letters and transcripts that were part of the secret proceeding were unsealed late Thursday, after Judge Then decided the need for public access superseded the privacy rights of those involved.


They reveal that Giorgio Pelossi, a shadowy figure who acted as Mr. Schreiber's accountant and right-hand man until they fell out in 1991, began funnelling information to the RCMP in 1995.


The information included a 1986 letter from the German parent company, Messerschmit-Bolkow-Blohm, to a Schreiber-controlled company discussing the figure of $1.12-million as a potential "agent fee" for International Aircraft Leasing.


The RCMP claims the final agreement included a $6,000 monthly retainer to be paid to the lobbying firm Government Consultants International, an 8-per-cent commission on the sale price of helicopters and 15 per cent on the cost of equipment.


Police believe $93,506 was ultimately paid out in commissions per helicopter. Multiplied by 12, the total commissions equalled the $1.12-million MBB and IAL allegedly discussed.


Commission fees are not illegal in many other countries. But in Canada, they are viewed as an inducement to underhanded dealing and possible corruption in the procurement of government contracts.


The untendered 1986 helicopter contract had a specific provision prohibiting commission fees that, if violated, meant that the coast guard unwittingly signed a contract it likely would not have otherwise entered into.


Ms. Cameron said yesterday that she has not covered the Airbus saga since a book she co-wrote with CBC reporter Harvey Cashore, The Last Amigo, came out in 2001. She is working on a book about the Robert William Pickton murder case in British Columbia.


Mr. Cashore too denied being the confidential informant yesterday. He said he actually had no idea there was a confidential informant in the case until he heard of it in 2002.


"I was as surprised as anyone else that there was a secret informant," Mr. Cashore said in an interview. "I've been a victim of false speculation, so I wouldn't want someone else to be as well. I do not know who it is."


Mr. Cashore said he was so worried about the RCMP trying to seize his notes and documents several years ago that he took them all to his aunt's home in Scarborough, Ont., and hid them in the basement.


Mr. Cashore said it has bothered him for years that despite groundbreaking work he did for the CBC program the fifth estate on the case, the rest of the Canadian media have remained obsessed with tangential angles.


"This is a bit of a sideshow," Mr. Cashore said. "The big unanswered question in all of this is: Where did the money go? That's what Greenspan and Schreiber want us to forget about. My guess is they are enjoying the way this story is being covered. I think they are sitting back and having a good chuckle."


An RCMP document filed in the secret hearing last year stated that the confidential informant would come forward publicly only if Mr. Mulroney were charged in connection with the case.


"That's just weird," Mr. Cashore said Friday. "I can guarantee that it isn't me, because I don't dislike Mulroney."


Mr. Cashore said he was unable to rule out Ms. Cameron categorically as the confidential informant. He said he has not spoken to her since the existence of a confidential informant became known last year.


People should keep in mind that reporters deal with sources all the time without falling into compromising relationships, Mr. Cashore added.


"On one level, you are trying to get any information you can for a story," he said. "I remember, years ago there were questions raised about why I would even want to talk to the RCMP. That's absurd. Of course I would want to get information out of the RCMP. You talk to Karlheinz Schreiber; you talk to Eddie Greenspan; you talk to anybody who can give you information.


"But if you are deliberating giving information to the RCMP so they can act on it - and they do something with it - I think that is inappropriate," Mr. Cashore said. "Our job is not to be furthering investigations. It is not my job, nor should it be, to give the RCMP information."


In his submission to Judge Then in February, 2002, Mr. Greenspan said he twigged to the probability of Ms. Cameron being the informant on account of events surrounding the departure of Staff Sergeant Fraser Fiegenwald from the RCMP.


Staff Sgt. Fiegenwald, a prime investigator in the Airbus affair, resigned after it became public that he had leaked information about the investigation to Ms. Cameron.


Mr. Greenspan noted that in The Last Amigo, Ms. Cameron described Staff Sgt. Fiegenwald as "an honest cop" who ended up being victimized in the incident.


If Staff Sgt. Fiegenwald actually was honest, Mr. Greenspan reasoned, then he surely could not have breached the RCMP Act when he leaked information to Ms. Cameron.


That led him to the logical deduction that Staff Sgt. Fiegenwald had leaked the information to someone he was authorized to inform, namely, a confidential informant, Mr. Greenspan said.


"All I can say to myself is that if he did not breach the RCMP Act - according to Cameron - it means she was in a category of persons that could be told - and that's an informant," he told Judge Then.


Staff Sgt. Fiegenwald, who now works for a private security firm, declined to comment on the case yesterday. "I've got nothing to say on that," he said. "I'm not saying anything about it."


Mr. Greenspan also stated that the fact that Mr. Cashore could find the courtroom where the secret hearing was being heard in early 2000 showed he was receiving leaks from someone very close to the case, probably the RCMP.


However, Mr. Cashore said yesterday that he learned indirectly about the secret proceeding through Mr. Greenspan's own client, Mr. Schreiber.


"I wasn't going to tell Greenspan, but I'm willing to tell a fellow journalist that without Karlheinz Schreiber's information, there is no way I would have ended up in that hearing," he said.


Mr. Cashore explained that a German journalist he knows had forwarded him a copy of the search warrant, saying it had come directly from Mr. Schreiber. Helpful clerks in the Ottawa courthouse directed him to a Toronto courthouse where the secret proceeding was under way, Mr. Cashore said.


He said he simply went to the courthouse, found the courtroom and walked in.


Mr. Cashore insisted the RCMP did not help him discover the proceeding. "Absolutely not," he said. "The RCMP have been so tight-lipped on this thing."


With a report from Daniel Leblanc.





Smells like "fish" to me !

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"And on the flip side, I wonder who got greased for the 412 Griffon deal?


Nobody. There's no need to bribe Canadians into buying a Canadian built aircraft, nor should there be.


Protectionist? You bet your sweet arse. See what would happen if the Gendarmerie tried to buy Jet Rangers.

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MAG, The article that I just posted WAS from the Globe and Mail, and furthermore, the Vancouver Sun is not one of the "Sunshine Girl" papers. It is the class act on the west coast, the Tabloid style paper on the wet coast is the Vancouver Province.


Hey, I'm thinking of buying an Astar, do you mind sending me $100,000 in small unmarked bills to convince me?? ;)

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If you don't get that cash 407 I'll send you one of the ballcaps they gave me...oops, cats out of the bag now!! :D:D


By the way ####....tell the crew we are quite pleased with the new ride. Job well done by everyone at the plant. :up: As for that bribe, Bank of Switzerland, account # 6 9. Wait now, the new ride is metric, make that account number 1 8 1!! And hurry up, I need some cash to buy soap to get rid of this grease on my palms!! :lol::P

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Ball caps? Don't they cause baldness? :huh:


Maggie - there is no real Canadian option for that project, just J-Vs with Canadian companies. In that case, I think they should get the aircraft that suits them the best.


I'm not saying Canadian at all costs, but if there is a Canadian option that can successfully does the job, like 407 vs. 350, or Embraer vs. CRJ, or Bombardier rail cars vs. some Japanese version, I think it's a no-brainer.


Hey 407, I tried making the emergency call for you, but I couldn't find '11' on the phone... B)

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Design, experimental flight test, initial certification, fuselage, empennage, all interior panels and upholstry, electrical, full assembly from scratch, all production flight test, and Canada is listed as the State of Design and Manufacture. In addition, world-wide product support is done from Mirabel.


Blades, and transmission come from the US parent, and the engine on this model comes from a vendor, as do all EC engines. As an aside, the Pratts on the 212, 412 and 427 come from Canada...


What's your point? Don't most of the new EC fuses come from China now? Is there one shred of Canadian manufacturing other than final assembly?


If you can't tell the difference between a full-on design and manufacturing facility with 1200 - 1700 employees, and a glorified paint shop, then there isn't much point in this arguement.

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