The federal Ethics Commissioner has been asked by both opposition parties to investigate Brampton East MP Raj Grewal. The MPs based their request on allegations that he broke parliamentary rules by securing invitations to high-profile events for a business associate during Trudeau’s trip to India just a few weeks ago.
Grewal provides legal advice to real estate development company Zgemi Inc. and has since April 2017. It is alleged Grewal secured invitations for Zgemi’s president, Yusuf Yenilmez, to events with high-ranking officials including the Prime Minister; Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Navdeep Bains; and Defence Minister, Harjit Sajjan.
The company’s Facebook page says Yenilmez attended business delegations in Mumbai and New Delhi with the Prime Minister.
A letter to the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner sent last week from MPs of both opposition parties states that by securing Yenilmez the invitations, Grewal breached two sections of the House of Commons ethics code.
“This access would have facilitated opportunities for Mr. Yenilmez to discuss his business operations, intentions and hopes with many senior figures in the Government of Canada,” stated Conservative MP Stephanie Kusie in her letter to the Ethics Commissioner.
Grewal told the Toronto Star in an email that he has never used his resources as an MP to do work for Zgemi, saying, “The work done for Zgemi Inc. is done on an ad hoc basis and it is done on my personal laptop.”
Grewal says that he invited over 30 stakeholders and supporters to participate in events during the trip to India, and that Yenilmez had access to the events because he was registered to travel with the Canada-India delegation.
Yenilmez, a Liberal supporter for a number of years, has donated over $3,800 to the federal Liberal party and has been seen at events related to the party in the Greater Toronto Area.
Yenilmez told the Toronto Star that his company’s relationship with MP Grewal was cleared by the Ethics Commissioner.
Ethics codes don’t restrict MPs from collecting sources of income, but rules change once they become cabinet members and parliamentary secretaries.