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Police expand investigation of ex-senator Mac Harb

Senator Mac Harb arrives to the East Block of Parliament Hill in Ottawa on May 29, 2013. Media reports say the amount to be repaid by former Liberal senator Mac Harb over questionable expense claims has jumped to $231,000.

The RCMP has expanded its investigation into dubious expense claims by former Liberal senator Mac Harb.

The Mounties are investigating allegations that Harb declared two largely unused country homes as his primary residences, allowing him to fraudulently claim a Senate housing allowance and living expenses for his supposedly secondary residence in Ottawa – where he had lived for years prior to his 2003 appointment to the Senate and where he continued to spend most of his time.

In the course of that investigation, an RCMP affidavit filed in court says the force discovered that Harb took out a mortgage in 2007 for $177,000 on his country home in Cobden, Ont.

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Later the same day, he transferred 99.9 per cent ownership of the home to a friend, Brunei diplomat Magdeline Teo.

In 2010, the Mounties say he purchased a new country home in Westmeath, Ont., obtaining a mortgage from RBC for $240,000 while listing the Cobden property as a solely owned asset, when he actually owned only .01 per cent of it.

Lead investigator Cpl. Greg Horton says both transactions "put the bank at risk."

"Both of these transactions are now subject of this ongoing investigation," Horton says in the document filed in court Wednesday.

The document seeks a court order to give investigators access to Harb's bank records.

Although he has always denied any wrongdoing, Harb resigned from the Senate in August and repaid more than $230,000 in expense claims deemed improper by the upper chamber.

He is one of four senators whose expense claims are being probed by the RCMP. The others are former Conservatives Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau.

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