Liberal MP Grewal rethinking decision to resign, says he has repaid gambling debts

Liberal M-P Raj Grewal says he's repaid his sizable gambling debts and is now reconsidering his hasty decision to quit politics.

The Prime Minister's Office said last week that Grewal's sudden decision to step down as the member for the Ontario riding of Brampton East was prompted by a gambling problem.

in a statement posted to his Facebook page late Friday, Grewal says he began playing high-stakes blackjack at a Gatineau, Quebec casino in early 2016, and borrowed money from family and friends to keep gambling as he racked up millions of dollars of personal debt.

He says he was able to hide his gambling addiction from everyone -- even his new wife -- until just recently.

Grewal explains that he was in a highly emotional state when he made what he calls his "unadvised and irrational'' statement on Facebook that he was resigning his seat.

He now says he'll take a leave of absence from the Liberal caucus to focus on his mental health and recover, and make a final decision about his political future before Parliament resumes in the new year.

The Prime Minister's Office last week said Grewal's sudden decision to step down as the member for the southern Ontario riding of Brampton East was prompted by a gambling problem that led him to incur significant personal debts.

The source, who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter, said Grewal's debts came to the attention of the Ontario Provincial Police during an investigation of some -- quote -- "particularly shady guys'' who might be involved in laundering drug money destined for an extremist group in the Middle East.

The source said he learned last spring that the R-C-M-P had asked the O-P-P's gaming unit about Grewal's casino gambling based on reports of unusually large financial transactions.

Grewal, who is a lawyer, has not been charged with any crime, and the source says there is no suggestion he knows anything of the alleged activities at the centre of the broader police probe.