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This article was published 21/7/2010 (4154 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
OTTAWA -- The RCMP found no evidence to warrant criminal charges against former cabinet minister Helena Guergis or her husband Rahim Jaffer -- but the news Wednesday wasn't enough to win her re-entry into the Conservative fold.
Guergis was pushed from cabinet, caucus and ultimately the Tory nomination in her Ontario riding over allegations she'd used her position to further the private business interests of Jaffer.
Jaffer, a former Tory MP, had been working with a Toronto venture capitalist who currently faces fraud charges.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper referred the matter to the Mounties in late April, and said "pending resolution, she will sit outside the Conservative caucus." He also sent a letter to the parliamentary ethics commissioner.
Guergis's lawyer, Howard Rubel, said he got a call from an RCMP investigator, Insp. John Kueper, on Wednesday saying the force "had found nothing of substance, there turned out to be nothing worth looking into."
Jaffer's lawyer Frank Addario made a similar statement Wednesday, saying the Mounties informed him "there is no evidence to support a criminal charge and it will be closing the portion of its file that relates to Mr. Jaffer."
Rubel said the RCMP never interviewed Guergis, the former minister of state for the status of women, during the process. "To me, that speaks a tremendous amount, that they didn't feel that there was anything that they needed to speak to her about or to ask her input on," Rubel said.
The Prime Minister's Office was unswayed by the RCMP's judgment, however, and said Guergis would not be allowed back into caucus.
Spokeswoman Sara MacIntyre cited a list of issues surrounding Guergis and Jaffer, none of which were mentioned by Harper or his office when he first announced her departure.
"There were several factors, with respect to disclosure of her mortgage, as well as her husband's business dealings, and the use of her office, and BlackBerrys for business purposes," she said. "There were several factors that led to her removal from cabinet and caucus."
Guergis failed to disclose to the ethics and conflict of interest commissioner she had a mortgage liability, and paid a $100 fine for the delay this spring.
The commissioner is examining whether she broke ethics rules when she wrote a letter of support for a businessman in her constituency who had prior dealings with Jaffer.
That examination was not related to the first letter sent from Harper's office, which did not trigger an investigation by the ethics commissioner.
"There are still ethics investigations, and Conservatives try to hold our members to a high standard of conduct," MacIntyre said.
Natural Resources Minister Christian Paradis is also facing an investigation by the ethics commissioner over his dealings with Jaffer, but has remained in caucus and cabinet.
Guergis wasn't commenting on Wednesday.
-- The Canadian Press