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Years before pleading guilty to corruption, Basi alleged Clark was leak

The allegations contained in a newly released memo related to the BC Rail case were aired in British Columbia Supreme Court three years ago, before the person who wrote them pleaded guilty to corruption charges.

On June 24, Vancouver blogger Alex Tsakumis published a memo to file signed by former ministerial assistant David Basi and notarized by lawyer George Jonas on Oct. 8, 2003. The lawyer's signature attests to the date of the memo, but not to the truth of its contents. *

The memo said Basi and his co-accused Bobby Virk suspected that Pilothouse Public Affairs Group lobbyists Eric Bornmann, Brian Kieran and Jamie Elmhirst had "unfettered" access to cabinet material through contacts that included then deputy premier Christy Clark.

While the memo includes no additional evidence or proof, the allegations are similar to those made in court in 2009 by a lawyer acting for Basi.

"Pilothouse internal briefing notes appear to reveal sources in cabinet," Bill Tieleman writing for The Tyee quoted Michael Bolton saying on June 5, 2009. "For example, Christy Clark may have been the source within cabinet – certainly Mr. Bornmann was in contact with Ms. Clark."

Clark, who is now the premier, denied the allegations at the time, as she has repeatedly, and as she reportedly does now.

In a column in The Province with a headline that said the memo puts Clark "in the hot seat," Michael Smyth quoted Clark's press secretary Sara MacIntyre: "This is a 'memo-to self' written by the man who would plead guilty to being the source of leaking confidential information and breach of trust . . . This supposed memo was written when he himself was leaking. It’s the fabrication of a criminal. And it’s completely inconsistent with every shred of evidence gathered by investigators."

Premier Clark picked up the theme today, quoted by The Vancouver Sun's Jonathan Fowlie saying, "Consider the source in this one. He is a convicted criminal, and he was convicted of leaking information himself . . . He then, I guess he says, wrote a memo to himself to say that it wasn't him, it was somebody else . . . So I'd ask you to consider the source on that."

Basi, who received two years less a day house arrest after pleading guilty to breach of trust and receiving a benefit for leaking information about the BC Rail bidding process, did not answer his cellphone nor immediately respond to a voice message The Tyee left.

Despite the guilty plea, the provincial government agreed to break with normal policy and cover Basi and Virk's $6 million legal bill.

NDP Leader Adrian Dix said he had not seen the 2003 memo, but that British Columbians still have many questions about the case and a full public inquiry is needed.

* Date of memo publication corrected.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Find him on Twitter or reach him here.

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