Raj Grewal Told Liberals He Had More Than $1-Million In Debt

Liberal MP Raj Grewal told a party official last week that he had a gambling problem and had accumulated debt of more than $1-million, a source said.

Mr. Grewal held discussions last Wednesday with Liberal MP Mark Holland in which Mr. Grewal admitted he faced serious financial problems. Mr. Holland, who is the Chief Government Whip, then relayed the information to senior Liberal officials, including members of the Prime Minister’s Office, the source said.

On Wednesday, Mr. Holland refused to discuss the details of his conversation with Mr. Grewal, citing the confidential nature of the exchanges.

The source, who was briefed on the matter, said the understanding was that Mr. Grewal had accumulated a “seven-figure” debt, adding it was not known to whom the money was owed.

Mr. Grewal spent millions of dollars over the past three years on gambling, including at the Casino du Lac-Leamy across the Ottawa River from Parliament Hill. The sources added the RCMP have been investigating the expenditures for months and are attempting to determine the origin of the funds.

Mr. Grewal has not responded to requests for comment made by phone and e-mail in recent days, including phone and text messages on Wednesday. Some Liberal members say they have also failed to reach Mr. Grewal in recent days.

Mr. Grewal has yet to resign his seat officially, but Mr. Holland said on Wednesday that the paperwork is being filed.

Last Thursday, Mr. Grewal announced he would resign as MP for Brampton East. In his official statement, he said he was leaving for “personal and medical reasons.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a statement later that day that said Mr. Grewal was “facing serious personal challenges.” On Friday, the Prime Minister’s Office offered new details.

“Earlier this week, Mr. Grewal told us that he is undergoing serious personal challenges and that he is receiving treatment from a health professional related to a gambling problem that led him to incur significant personal debts,” PMO spokeswoman Chantal Gagnon said in a statement. “Based on these circumstances, we agreed that his decision to resign as Member of Parliament for Brampton East was the right one. We hope he receives the support he needs.”

Mr. Grewal is also under investigation by the federal Ethics Commissioner for bringing Yusuf Yenilmez, chief executive of Zgemi Inc., to an event during the Prime Minister’s trip to India. Mr. Yenilmez’s company also paid Mr. Grewal employment income while he was an elected official, and is a co-debtor on a vehicle loan for the former MP.