Was Vreeland Right? Was
Canadian Embassy Worker Poisoned?


OTTAWA (CP) - A Quebec coroner's report suggests poisoning was behind the mysterious death 13 months ago of Marc Bastien, an employee at Canada's embassy in Moscow.
The report says Bastien, 34, died Dec. 12, 2000, after drinking a mixture of alcohol and clopazine, an anti-depressant used to treat schizophrenia.
Initially, Canadian officials said the death was of natural causes.
Bastien had been drinking in Moscow bars and coroner Line Duchesne said a concentrated form of clopazine may have been slipped into his drink.
Bastien, who handled information systems at the embassy, was found dead the next morning in the bed of his Moscow apartment.
Duchesne said she agreed with RCMP and Moscow police in believing the computer specialist was the victim of a person - "maybe a woman" - who slipped a clopazine tablet in his drink.
Foreign Affairs spokesperson Reynald Doiron said late last week police continue to study the circumstances of Bastien's death. "There's still some information to be obtained. We may eventually find out the details that we're missing."
Monique Richard, Bastien's mother, dismissed the coroner's report as guesswork.
She said she and her husband Gaston Bastien had waited six months for the report and were disappointed: "It's full of hypotheses, possibilities and undecided elements. There's nothing official in it."
American Delmart Edward Vreeland, who is fighting extradition from Canada on fraud charges, says he tried to warn Canada's spy service of the Sept. 11 attacks. He claimed Bastien was murdered in Moscow.

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