New court documents suggest troubled Toronto mayor Rob Ford may have offered 5,000 Canadian dollars (£3,000) and a car to suspected drug dealers in exchange for a video that appears to show him smoking crack cocaine.
The information is contained in police surveillance recordings of alleged gang members who spoke about delivering drugs to Mr Ford and having pictures of him using drugs.
One alleged gang member is heard telling another that he rejected the offer for the tape and planned to meet the mayor and ask for “150” – $150,000 (£92,000).
On one wire tape on April 20, an alleged gang member is heard saying: “Rob Ford was smoking his rocks today” and that he would post a picture on Instagram.
On Wednesday a smiling Mr Ford laughed and ignored questions as he left his office.
Mr Ford, who has become an international media sensation, acknowledged last month that he smoked crack in a “drunken stupor” about a year ago. He previously denied the existence of the video.
He has refused to resign as mayor of Canada’s largest city and financial capital, despite mounting pressure after a string of incidents that have embarrassed Canadians, from public drunkenness to appearing in another video that showed him threatening “murder” in an incoherent rant. Toronto’s city council has stripped him of most of his powers.
Mr Ford admitted that he smoked crack after police said they obtained a video that appeared to show him puffing on a crack pipe as part of an investigation into his friend, Alexander Lisi.
The newly-released court documents say police heard on the wiretaps that Mr Ford had his phone stolen or lost it at a home they believe to be a crack house and that Lisi was trying to get it back.
Police say they overheard that Lisi threatened to “put the heat on” the gang if he did not get Mr Ford’s phone back.