Former Liberal parliamentarian who resigned this week under treatment for gambling problem, says the prime minister's office


The Ontario deputy, who has abruptly stepped down from his chair this week, is being handled by a gambling problem that has led him to accumulate considerable personal debt, confirmed the office of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Raj Grewal was also examined by the RCMP on a supposed conflict of interest being examined by the Federal Ethics Commissar, Chantal Gagnon, Trudeau Press Secretary, to the National Post.

The MP announced Thursday that he was leaving parliamentary office for Brampton East, citing "personal and medical reasons".

But there seems to be more to the story of his sudden departure.

"Earlier this week Grewal told us that he is facing serious personal challenges and that he is receiving treatment from a health professional related to a gambling problem that has led him to incur significant personal debt," 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 decision. We hope he gets the support he needs. "

Meanwhile, asked about a possible investigation into the financial activities of Grewal, a spokeswoman for the Peel Regional Police, which covers Brampton, said the force can not discuss any active investigation.

"We are not in a position to confirm details of any ongoing investigations and / or disclose information about persons under investigation … due to privacy considerations and to maintain the integrity of our investigations," said Const. Danny Marttini-Chapman.

Gagnon said the prime minister's office was not aware of an investigation by the Peel police.

Grewal himself was not found to comment, but a friend said he does not believe the MP has any kind of gambling problem.

"He's a vegetarian guy, he never drinks, he does not play," said Andy Grewal, president of Everest Transport, but has no relation to the liberal legislator. "I've known him for a long time. He's a nice guy.

The friend said he "has no idea" why Trudeau's office suggested that the member actually got into trouble with his bets.

In an apparently unrelated subject, New Democrat MEP Charlie Angus complained about Grewal earlier this year to the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner. Angus said the Liberal invited a businessman from the Brampton area to a series of receptions in India with Trudeau and his delegation.

The developer's company, ZGemi Inc., has been listed on Grewal's ethical registry as a source of income, Angus noted.

Now it seems that the police also took a look at the subject.

"We are aware of the RCMP investigations into the circumstances that were the subject of a complaint to the Ethics Commissioner about Mr. Grewal earlier this year," Gagnon said.

Grewal gave no indication of financial or gambling difficulties when he announced his decision to leave Parliament.

"Yesterday, I informed the head of government that I would resign my seat as a Member of Parliament for Brampton East for personal and medical reasons," he said in a Facebook post.

"For the people of Brampton East, serving as their MP has been the greatest privilege of my life. This was a decision that I have been fighting for some time and one that I have made with great difficulty and true sadness. But I feel like I need this time to focus on my health and family. "

In a tweet about the resignation on Thursday, the prime minister also did not mention anything about gambling or big debts, saying only that he knew on Wednesday that Grewal "is facing serious personal challenges."

"Although it may have been a difficult decision, it was the right decision. I hope he gets the support he needs, "Trudeau said.

(Updated at 16:30 with details, comments on possible Peel Police investigation, at 17:10 with quote from friend)

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