The RCMP says former Conservative staffer Dion Ahwai has been charged with mischief to data, which sources say is related to an investigation of an alleged theft of materials from Erin O’Toole’s Zoom account during the 2020 leadership race.
During the pandemic-era contest that elected O’Toole as party leader, his team accused rival Peter MacKay’s camp of accessing and downloading videos they said contained sensitive strategic information.
MacKay’s campaign denied allegations of wrongdoing at the time, an MP who supported O’Toole fired an intern in connection with the apparent breach, and O’Toole’s leadership campaign referred the matter of the alleged data theft to police.
The RCMP did not confirm the link between the charge and that investigation, but two sources with knowledge of the matter — granted anonymity because they fear professional repercussions for speaking publicly — say the Mounties told senior members of O’Toole’s former leadership campaign about the charge on Tuesday.
The RCMP says Ahwai — who did not immediately respond to requests for comment sent to his work email address and through Facebook — is scheduled to appear in an Ontario court on Aug. 4.
A spokesperson for O’Toole, who was ousted as Conservative leader by the caucus in February, said he would not comment because the matter is before the courts.