For months, a crack team of top forensic accountants in Ottawa and Montreal has been following the Adscam money from the public purse through the elaborate money-laundering schemes of fraud and kickbacks at the heart of the sponsorship scandal. This is no ordinary group of number-crunchers.BOOM!
Among its members are some of the key investigators who unraveled the massive and complex financial scandal at Enron Corporation, the giant American energy company that collapsed under billions of dollars of hidden debt and fraud. Sometime in the next few weeks, this squad of sleuthing bean-counters from the firm Kroll Lindquist & Avey will present the Gomery inquiry with the results of its Adscam investigation.
If successful, the accountants will answer the most contentious of all sponsorship questions: Who ended up with all the money?
So far, the Gomery commission has heard testimony that an elaborate web of kickbacks and fraudulent invoices siphoned millions of dollars from the federal sponsorship program into the coffers of Liberal Party operatives. What we don't know -- and the forensic super-snoops will likely tell us -- is what happened to all the loot after the Liberal bagmen got it.
Was it a political slush fund to pay for Liberal election campaigns in Quebec? Or did the cash just stay in the bank accounts of the Grit bagmen, a fraud on a fraud? Did some of the loot perhaps find its way to others in high places? If so, who got the money, and who else knew about it?
The answers could further rock the Liberal Party, and have a profound effect on the timing and outcome of the next federal election. So far, the accounting firm is keeping its findings under tight wraps.
But sources elsewhere tell us the investigators have pieced together literally tens of thousands of pages of financial records, everything from personal bank accounts to phone bills of companies and key players in the Adscam mess.
The result, we are told, is pure political dynamite.
ottawa sun, greg weston