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From the first whiff of an Airbus controversy in 1988 until he died 17 years later, Frank Duff Moores and all of the lobbyists from his firm were adamant: Mr. Moores had nothing to do with Airbus and its sale of $1.8-billion worth of airplanes to Air Canada.

The denials came from everywhere and everyone, such as his third wife, Beth Moores: "He has frequently, in previous statements, said that he has never, ever had anything to do with Airbus, ever," she told The Globe and Mail in 1995.

Mr. Moores' partner at his lobby firm Government Consultants International used equally strong language in 1988 shortly after Air Canada announced its purchase. "We never received any mandate … to work for Airbus," the late Gary Ouellet told the Toronto Star. "We have not lobbied Air Canada."

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However, a letter written by Mr. Moores and obtained during months of research by The Globe and Mail and CBC's fifth estate, shows the opposite.

On Feb. 3, 1988, only two months before the board of directors at Air Canada agreed to make the largest civilian aircraft purchase in the country's history, Mr. Moores wrote to the chairman of Airbus Industrie, the late Franz Josef Strauss, about the financing agreement for the sale.

"I would like to bring to your attention a situation that has developed regarding the sale of aircraft to Air Canada," Mr. Moores wrote, explaining that Air Canada required a "deficiency guarantee" before proceeding with the sale.

Because Mr. Moores is dead, he can't be a witness at the public inquiry announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper into the dealings of Karlheinz Schreiber - but his letter to Airbus Industrie is a reminder that, if he were still here, his voice would have been valuable.

There is no evidence that Mr. Moores' involvement with Airbus had anything to do with the controversial cash payments received by former prime minister Brian Mulroney between 1993 and 1994.

However, Mr. Moores's name has surfaced numerous times over the past few weeks and is front and centre on the first page of Mr. Schreiber's now widely circulated affidavit.

When Mr. Schreiber first got involved in federal Conservative circles in the early 1980s, it was through Mr. Moores, a former Conservative premier of Newfoundland, and another European businessman, Walter Wolf. They had one goal in mind - get rid of Tory leader Joe Clark.

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Mr. Schreiber and Mr. Wolf have both acknowledged that they helped arrange and pay for jets that transported anti-Clark delegates from Quebec to the Conservative convention in Winnipeg in 1983. At that historic convention, Mr. Clark did not receive the support he was looking for in a leadership review, opening the door to a leadership race, which was won by Mr. Mulroney.

"When I woke up in Winnipeg the morning after the vote, I had a real downer," Mr. Moores once told The Montreal Gazette. "… You don't destroy a guy's political career lightly. But it had to be done for the country's sake."

Mr. Moores went on to establish one of the most aggressive and successful lobby firms in Ottawa, Government Consultants International, or GCI. The firm no longer exists.

In March of 1985, he was named to Air Canada's board of directors by Mr. Mulroney's Conservative government - the same month that Airbus entered into a secret commission deal that saw millions of dollars flow into a shell company controlled by Mr. Schreiber. (Mr. Moores later stepped down from the board because of accusations of conflict of interest.)

In 1995, his firm made headlines when Mr. Moores, along with Mr. Schreiber and Mr. Mulroney, was accused in a letter to the Swiss government of conspiring to defraud Canadians on the Airbus sale.

The federal government later apologized to all three.

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In recent interviews with The Globe and CBC, Mr. Schreiber has acknowledged paying Mr. Moores for his lobbying services in cash. In fact, Mr. Schreiber created a sub-account in Switzerland with a codename for Mr. Moores - "Frankfurt" - from which numerous cash withdrawals were made.

As for Mr. Moores's letter to Airbus, which seems to contradict everything he ever said about his involvement with the company, many of his old partners at GCI did not return phone calls from The Globe. His wife, Beth Moores, said earlier this year that she did not want to speak on the record.

Pierre Jeanniot, who was CEO of Air Canada when the Airbus deal was made, said he had no explanation for why Mr. Moores would be writing Airbus about its sale to the former Crown corporation.

"Frank Moores … was not authorized to act on behalf of Air Canada. I have no idea why he would be writing. I mean he, you know, was a lobbyist, so I guess that doesn't stop anyone from writing to anybody to indicate that they have some potential interest. I don't know. I mean I really don't know," Mr. Jeanniot said.

Estate records show that at the time of his death in 2005, Mr. Moores's assets in Ontario were valued at $3.9-million.



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