Harper aide faces criminal probe

AFP-JIJI

A Canadian Senate spending scandal turned into a criminal investigation Thursday as police reviewed a payment to a delinquent senator by the prime minister’s former chief of staff.

Nigel Wright, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s right-hand man, resigned suddenly last month after revealing he paid 90,000 Canadian dollars ($87,700) to Sen. Mike Duffy to help the lawmaker repay funds he had wrongly claimed as Senate expenses.

After the repayment, Duffy stopped cooperating with an audit, leading to opposition cries of a cover-up and demands for a probe. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said it is examining all information related to the transaction to “determine whether a criminal act has taken place.”