Released after a year and a half in prison, a woman once accused of trying to smuggle one of Moammar Gadhafi’s sons out of Libya maintains she knows nothing about emails that appear to spell out plans to bring Saadi Gadhafi to Mexico.
"No, not possible. It’s not even within the scope of anything that I would even contemplate or do," said Cynthia Vanier.
Vanier returned to her home in Mount Forest, Ont., after her sudden release from prison late last month. The former business consultant told her side of the bizarre story to Linden MacIntyre of CBC’s the fifth estate — insisting she did not write emails that appear to discuss a false identity and other arrangements for the younger Gadhafi.
"We have a place where he can live for a while with a new passport. How awesome is that?" reads one, purportedly from Vanier to Gary Peters, a Canadian security contractor also linked to the case.
"I don’t even speak like that," said Vanier.
Vanier insists she was in Libya in 2011 to document a humanitarian crisis at the behest of her employer, the Montreal engineering firm SNC-Lavalin. The company had close ties with the Gadhafi regime and according to prosecutors in Mexico and Canada was plotting to rescue one of its most valuable business contacts.
"If those emails existed they would have been on the SNC server and my server — they don’t exist," she added.
An SNC executive, Stéphane Roy, was also included in the emails, according to an RCMP search warrant.
Peters has said there was a plan to move Gadhafi and his family to Mexico, but it was deemed illegal and abandoned.
Vanier said she was flabbergasted by the charges and despaired during her time in jail.
"I really don’t know how I got through it," she said adding, with a laugh, that she even started knitting.
"I spent a lot of time by myself, it was pretty lonely," said Vanier. "I just kept telling myself that I know what the truth is, I know that I haven’t done these things and I had to just keep telling myself and being told over and over again this nightmare is going to end. You’re going to come out of this."