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COVID-19: Vancouver man accused of hosting illegal penthouse party faces new charge

Click to play video 'Public safety minister hints at more charges against alleged Vancouver illegal party operator' Public safety minister hints at more charges against alleged Vancouver illegal party operator
B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth says the alleged operator of an illegal party in a Vancouver penthouse apartment could potentially face a $10,000 fine and a year in jail. Rumina Daya reports – Feb 1, 2021

A man accused of operating a makeshift nightclub inside his Vancouver condo amid COVID-19 restrictions is facing a new charge ahead of a court appearance on Monday.

Mo Movassaghi, 42, was taken into custody on Jan. 31 when Vancouver police served a warrant on his penthouse suite located on Richards Street.

Click to play video 'Man charged and $17K in fines issued at a Vancouver penthouse allegedly hosting a ‘makeshift nightclub’' Man charged and $17K in fines issued at a Vancouver penthouse allegedly hosting a ‘makeshift nightclub’
Man charged and $17K in fines issued at a Vancouver penthouse allegedly hosting a ‘makeshift nightclub’ – Jan 31, 2021

Police said Movassaghi was hiding behind a chair among more than 70 people, none of whom were wearing masks.

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Police said when they attended the unit they found 78 people inside, along with menus, liquor, point-of-sale terminals and multiple cash tills.

Click to play video 'Penthouse party bust: What were alleged illegal nightclub attendees thinking?' Penthouse party bust: What were alleged illegal nightclub attendees thinking?
Penthouse party bust: What were alleged illegal nightclub attendees thinking? – Jan 31, 2021

Police handed out more than $17,000 in fines and said the suite appeared to be operating as a nightclub and show lounge complete with a stripper pole.

Movassaghi has been charged with two counts of failing to comply with the orders of a health officer. He is also now accused of unlawfully purchasing grain alcohol.

He was released on conditions to not host parties or hold alcohol inside the penthouse.

Read more: Booze and no shoes: Inside the Vancouver ‘makeshift nightclub’ that flouted COVID-19 orders

Earlier this month, Movassaghi’s lawyer Bobby Movassaghi issued a statement saying his client was entitled to his day in court.

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“He simply asks that you keep in mind that at this point in time these are unproven allegations, and like anyone else charged with an offence in Canada, he enjoys the presumption of innocence,” he said.

— With files from Kristen Robinson, Simon Little and The Canadian Press