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Basi-Virk witness back in business

A former lobbyist who is now a key Crown witness in the B.C. Legislature raid corruption trial has opened a new business providing communications and public affairs advice, including "monitoring the provincial legislative agenda".

But Brian Kieran said in an exclusive interview with 24 hours he is neither lobbying the B.C. Liberal government nor has any clients with connections to it.

Kieran and Erik Bornmann were partners in Pilothouse Public Affairs, a company whose offices were raided by police in December 2003 at the same time the B.C. Legislature was searched.

Court documents allege that Bornmann and Kieran provided money and benefits to former B.C. ministerial aides David Basi and Bob Virk in exchange for confidential government information about the $1 billion sale of B.C. Rail. Pilothouse had been retained by OmniTRAX, one of the bidders.

Bornmann is also a key Crown witness and neither he, Kieran nor OmniTRAX face charges, nor have the allegations been proven in court.

"I carry no clients with any connection to the provincial government," Kieran said in a phone interview from his Pender Island home.

That doesn't surprise NDP MLA Leonard Krog.

"I'd be astonished if Mr. Kieran was doing business with the government," Krog said. "I doubt the world will beat a path to his door."

Kieran says he hopes the trial will begin as planned in the spring.

"I'd love to get into court and tell my side of the story," he said. "I've been waiting to get this all behind me." Kieran has previously said search warrant information might "lead to assumptions" that would not be made if the full facts were available but has not elaborated.

Kieran also said he has not talked to Bornmann in about five years and has no idea when the trial might begin.

"I haven't heard from the Crown ever in the case. I'm pretty much in the dark," he said. "If it goes ahead in the spring I'd be very, very pleased."

Krog, critic for the Attorney General, blames the B.C. government for the delays in the trial.

"The delay goes right to the government. Production of documents and provision of information is directly this government's responsibility," Krog says.

Bill Tieleman writes a column for Vancouver 24 hours and the Tyee and has reported extensively on the Basi-Virk trial.

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