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The following is the statement issued Friday by Prime Minister Stephen Harper on the probe he ordered into the affairs of former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.

Federal lawyers have been reviewing the new affidavit sworn by Karlheinz Schreiber related to his dealings with Brian Mulroney before, during and after his time in office. The new allegations in the affidavit stem from a private lawsuit currently before the courts and do not involve the federal government.

Although these new allegations are unproven and untested in a court of law, they will be the subject of much public discussion and interest.

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There are, however, two issues which go beyond the private interests of the parties in the lawsuit.

First, some of these new allegations touch on the former prime minister's time in office. And, second, whether these allegations, if true, have any bearing on the settlement reached in January 1997.

Under these circumstances, I'm announcing today that I will be appointing an independent and impartial third party to review what course of actions may be appropriate given Mr. Schreiber's new sworn allegations.

In the government's review of the affidavit, I was also surprised to learn that my own name was mentioned. In the affidavit, Mr. Schreiber alleges he gave a letter to Mr. Mulroney which was intended to be shown to me at a meeting at Harrington Lake in July 2006.

Let me just say my family and I did host the former prime minister and his family for a social occasion at Harrington Lake in August 2006 at our invitation. We did not discuss Mr. Mulroney's dealings with Mr. Schreiber during that visit nor did Mr. Mulroney present a letter from Mr. Schreiber. In fact, Mr. Mulroney has never spoken to me on behalf of Mr. Schreiber. Nor has he ever presented me with any documents for Mr. Schreiber.

I can assure you we will move quickly on this matter. We will begin by naming the independent third party as early as next week.

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