Ethics watchdog clears PM's chief of staff over conflict of interest allegations

Associated Press

OTTAWA - Prime Minister Stephen Harper's chief of staff, Nigel Wright, has been cleared of conflict of interest allegations by the federal ethics watchdog.

Mary Dawson's office says the ethics commissioner has "discontinued" her examination of Wright's dealings with Barrick Gold Corp (TSX:ABX).

Dawson launched an investigation on her own initiative last September to determine whether Wright improperly used his position to further the private interests of friends at Barrick.

After carefully reviewing the matter, Dawson's office says she no longer has reason to believe Wright contravened the Conflict of Interest Act.

Wright was lobbied on three separate occasions last May by Barrick, despite deep personal connections to the company's founding family.

Wright has known Barrick founder and board chairman Peter Munk for years; he used to work with Munk's son, Anthony, who sits on Barrick's board, and is godfather to his son.

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