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COVID-19: Alleged Vancouver penthouse party host arrested again, charged with disobeying court order

Click to play video: 'B.C. considering new measures to collect unpaid COVID-19 fines' B.C. considering new measures to collect unpaid COVID-19 fines
Days after more than doubling COVID-19 fines for those breaking public health orders by attending or even promoting events, an alleged Vancouver party host is back in jail. Kristen Robinson has more on the new charges Mo Movassaghi is facing and what the province might do to collect the outstanding cash from unpaid COVID-19 tickets – Mar 28, 2021

A man accused of operating a makeshift nightclub inside his Vancouver penthouse amid COVID-19 restrictions was back in jail on the weekend.

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
Public safety minister hints at more charges against alleged Vancouver illegal party operator – Feb 1, 2021

Police confirm Mo Movassaghi, 42, was arrested at 5 a.m. Saturday at his Vancouver residence.

Sgt. Steve Addison with Vancouver police said Movassaghi was taken into custody after the VPD attended his home in response to a complaint from the public.

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Movassaghi has since been charged with disobeying a court order and two counts of possessing a controlled substance.

He is also accused of breaching a release order, according to Addison.

Police had been called to investigate an allegation Movassaghi was breaching his court-ordered condition limiting the number of visitors to his suite.

At a court appearance Monday, the Crown said Movassaghi argued he only had two people inside – but after being handcuffed – he collapsed.

Police found roughly 6.5 grams of cocaine, MDMA, and another drug on Movassaghi, according to the Crown.

Movassaghi was given 12 months probation and ordered to pay a $100 fine after pleading guilty to simple possession of cocaine.

“Frankly, I think most people would expect the book to be thrown at him,” said Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth on Sunday.

“If these allegations about the arrest are related to COVID and hosting a party, for example, I just find it unbelievable that anybody could be that stupid, to put it bluntly,” Farnworth told Global News.

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

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On Jan. 31, Movassaghi was released on conditions to not host parties or hold alcohol inside the penthouse, after he was taken into custody when Vancouver police served a warrant on his Richards Street condo unit.

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

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

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.

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

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Movassaghi was initially charged with two counts of failing to comply with the orders of a health officer. On Feb. 18, a charge of unlawfully purchasing grain alcohol was also sworn against Movassaghi in connection with the same alleged Jan. 31 penthouse party.

Global News reached out to Movassaghi’s legal counsel about the March 27 arrest but did not receive a response Sunday.

Movassaghi’s lawyer Bobby Movassaghi issued a statement on Jan. 31 saying his client was entitled to his day in court.

“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.

Movassaghi was released from custody Monday and will next appear in court on April 1 on the provincial health order charges related to his alleged nightclub.

-With files from Jon Azpiri

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