Jaffer linked to offshore firms by Gillani: PI
Private investigator Derrick Snowdy says a document listing Panamanian companies that he was told were reserved for Rahim Jaffer prompted him to alert Conservative officials about the former MP's alleged business ties.
In an exclusive interview with the CBC's Dave Seglins in Nassau, Bahamas, Snowdy alleged Toronto businessman Nazim Gillani was involved in financial crimes.
He said Gillani also claimed to be orchestrating deals involving Jaffer, whose wife, Helena Guergis, resigned from the Tory cabinet and was expelled from caucus earlier in April.
Snowdy said Gillani presented him with a list of companies and indicated ones marked with the letters "RJ" — saying they were reserved for Jaffer, a former Tory MP who lost his Edmonton seat in 2008.
The document lists a number of corporations registered in March 2009 in Panama. The names Sugar Cain Invest & Trade Inc. and Zundilon Associated Corp have the handwritten letters next to them. It is not clear who wrote those initials, or what they mean.
Snowdy acknowledged he has no evidence Jaffer even knew about the corporations, or for what they were intended.
Gillani "attempted to sell numerous people offshore corporations," Snowdy alleged.
Owning, or having interest in offshore companies is perfectly legal. However, Snowdy claims Gillani was involved in money laundering and discussed the companies with him as being vehicles for tax evasion when the investigator posed as a would-be investor in August 2009.
Gillani has called all of Snowdy's claims false and without corroboration. On Tuesday, Gillani's spokesperson Brian Kilgore refuted Snowdy's claim about the letters, saying the initials on the documents are not "RJ" and do not make any reference to Rahim Jaffer.
Furthermore, Kilgore told the CBC that while the document in question is the key to this whole affair, he insists Gillani did not start the list of companies. However, Kilgore refused to say whether Gillani had become a controlling shareholder of the companies by August 2009.
Snowdy said that when asked about the corporations, Gillani "indicated those contacts had been established by Rahim and his wife," Guergis.
Jaffer was arrested in September 2009 for drunk driving and cocaine possession just hours after he dined with Gillani at a Toronto restaurant. In March, Jaffer pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of careless driving and paid a $500 fine as part of a plea agreement that saw the more serious charges dropped.
The day after he dined with Jaffer, Gillani sent an email to clients boasting, "Mr. Jaffer has opened up the Prime Minister's Office to us."
Gillani has since said he was "over-enthusiastic" in his descriptions of his encounters with Jaffer and had exaggerated claims in an email to associates.
On Tuesday, Jaffer's lawyer declined the CBC's requests for comment.
Jaffer is set to appear on Wednesday before a parliamentary committee in Ottawa to answer questions about whether he improperly lobbied for access to government green funds.
PI meets with RCMP
Snowdy said he met Monday with Insp. John Kuuper of the RCMP's commercial crime unit in Milton, Ont., to begin detailing his findings that suggest a link between Gillani and Jaffer and Guergis.
RCMP won't discuss the case, nor confirm whether the meeting took place.
Snowdy said that in August 2009 he posed as a would-be investor and expressed interest in owning one of the companies purportedly set aside for Jaffer.
Gillani "offered to put me in touch with Mr. Jaffer to confirm his reservation of a certain corporate name," Snowdy alleged.
"I said, 'Well, I'd kind of like to have this one, do you think we could switch with one?' and he offered to put me in touch with Mr. Jaffer," Snowdy said.
Snowdy said he never contacted Jaffer, because he was hired by a spurned investor Dennis Garces to investigate Gillani — not Jaffer.
CBC News has learned that Snowdy has also been asked to appear before the committee on April 28, the same day as Gillani.
Neither the Prime Minister's Office nor any member of the Conservative government has released details about the allegations that led to Guergis's resignation from cabinet and expulsion from the Tory caucus earlier in April, except that they came from a "third party."
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said he learned of "serious and credible" allegations about Guergis's conduct and immediately referred the matter to the RCMP and the ethics commissioner.
The Mounties have only said they are "evaluating the allegations" and have made no decision on further action.