OTTAWA – An alleged former informant for Canada’s spy service says he may have to reveal classified information about the country’s security agencies in order to clear his name as part of a $23-million lawsuit against the federal government, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and the RCMP.
Roland Eid, a 46-year-old Canadian citizen who says he worked as a paid informant for CSIS between 1999 and 2007, is suing the country’s top public safety officials for allegedly ruining his business and putting his family in life-threatening danger in Lebanon.
None of Eid’s allegations have been proven in court.
Eid is currently facing his own criminal trial for fraud, after the RCMP charged him in 2012 relating to the $10 million bankruptcy of his Ottawa-based construction company and a $1.7-million transfer of that money back to his personal account in Lebanon. Records show Eid has previously filed for bankruptcy twice.
Eid disputes the RCMP’s charges, arguing the transfer was legitimate and that he sold his company before returning to Lebanon in 2007. He alleges in court documents that CSIS and the national police force played a role in bankrupting his company as retribution for refusing a dangerous assignment.
However, the man Eid reportedly sold his company to denies in court documents that he ever had the means or intention to buy it in the first place.
Eid’s judge-only trial continues at the Ottawa courthouse and may continue into the fall.
His lawyer, Richard Addelman, represents Eid only in the criminal trial and said he could not comment on the lawsuit allegations.
In a statement of claim filed last week, Eid signals that he is prepared to release classified documents, such as blueprints of foreign embassies in Ottawa, names of Canadian businesses allegedly linked to Hezbollah in Lebanon, as well as publicly naming his handlers at Canada’s spy agency.
He also says he plans to take the stand in his own defence in his fraud trial and make public accusations against the Canadian government in order to clear his name.
“There’s a lot more of very important documents that I will release,” Eid told Global News.
RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson, CSIS Director Michel Coulombe, Foreign Affairs Minister Rob Nicholson, Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney, and Public Works Minister Diane Finley are among the 10 individuals named in the lawsuit.
Neither CSIS nor the RCMP responded to a request for comment.
A spokesman for the public safety department confirmed the government has received Eid’s notice of civil claim. “As this matter is now before the courts, it would be inappropriate to comment further,” Jean Paul Duval wrote in an email.
Eid claims he worked with CSIS on its “Hezbollah desk,” to inform the agency about the Lebanese Islamic militant group which is considered a terrorist organization in Canada.
Eid says he was born in Lebanon and became a Canadian citizen in 1990.
He alleges in court documents CSIS gave him three specific assignments:
- To create a construction company, ICI Construction Management, in order to get federal construction contracts and use some of the profits to fund CSIS’s overseas operations, and to pay spies and informants;
- Between 2001 to 2007, to earn the trust of the “highest Hezbollah officers” as well as “corrupted” Lebanese government officials by any means necessary and by any cost;
- To handle and help transfer cash from two senior Hezbollah operatives in Ottawa and Montreal.
But the crux of Eid’s lawsuit hinges on his family’s treatment in Lebanon in March 2012.
Eid claims Hezbollah found out about the RCMP’s multi-million dollar fraud allegations against him, and he became unsafe in his place of birth.
He alleges he sought refuge at the Canadian embassy with his wife and two young children, but says he was turned away.
For one night, Eid says he slept outside the embassy with his family, and then spent one night at a hotel fearing for his life.
He eventually returned to Canada two days after he sought refuge with the help of the former Canadian consul in Lebanon, he says.
Eid said for him, the allegation that the embassy turned him away when he feared for his and his family’s life is the reason behind the lawsuit.
He has also written a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper asking for a royal commission to clear his name.
“I don’t really care about the money. I care about my family’s reputation and my name, most of all,” Eid told Global News.
“If they apologize publicly that they mistreated us, do you think I want the $23 million? I don’t want a penny of it.”