Calgary police investigating entrapment scheme targetting former mayor

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Calgary police investigating entrapment scheme targeting former mayor
WATCH: Calgary Police are looking into an alleged plot to target Naheed Nenshi. The alleged plan was aimed to manufacture a scandal around the former mayor by trying to get him to take illicit money. Adam MacVicar reports. – Nov 3, 2022

Calgary police are investigating an alleged plot that targeted the city’s former mayor.

“The Calgary Police Service is aware of allegations that surfaced online this week regarding an alleged entrapment plot against former mayor Naheed Nenshi,” CPS said in a statement to Global News.

“Investigators are in the process of reaching out to Mr. Nenshi to obtain a formal statement to initiate an investigation.”

Thursday afternoon, Nenshi confirmed he had been in contact with police and had begun the process.

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The alleged plot, first reported by Canadaland, had a political fixer try to manufacture a scandal around the former mayor by trying to record him taking illicit money from Russian officials. “Operation Peacock” as it was known was purportedly funded by Calgarians who travel in conservative political circles.

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“I was asked to do a job to expose supposed corruption against mayor Nenshi and many members of the council which were identified to me by several individuals,” David Wallace, the political fixer, told Global News Thursday.

“I basically tried to get the mayor and these councillors who were identified to bite on a kickback scheme. There was nobody biting.”

Wallace said the plan ran on parallel tracks of attempted entrapment and leveraging his existing relationships with Russian officials to explore bilateral trade agreements.

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“That had to go through (official) channels, so that was going through channels,” Wallace said.

He alleged other members of council who simultaneously had meetings with Wallace while in Calgary were part of the same political forces hoping to entrap Nenshi.

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“They wanted to expose supposed corruption with the mayor, but they wanted to enrich themselves along the way with the same sources of foreign money they were trying to frame the mayor up with,” Wallace said.

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In a statement earlier this week, Nenshi said he was disappointed to read about the alleged plot against him.

“As a community, we should never stand for the kind of assault on our democracy and on our society that is alleged in this article,” the former mayor wrote.

“I have faith that the appropriate authorities (including the Calgary Police Service and the RCMP) will investigate this story deeply and if any laws have been broken, appropriate action will be taken.

“I also call upon municipal, federal, and provincial leaders, to unequivocally disavow this type of conduct and condemn those who are found to perpetuate it.”

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On Tuesday evening, David Wallace, the political fixer, posted a letter dated Oct. 15, 2019, on social media apparently signed by then-councillors Sean Chu and Joe Magliocca to a “Kiril Mikhaylov,” identified as consul general and a “Sergey Strokov,” identified as economic development minister. The letter was addressed to a Toronto address that matches the Consulate General of Russia.

The letter requests a meeting with Mikhaylov and Strokov in Calgary “to discuss potential investment opportunities and bilateral trade.”

Wednesday evening, Chu responded on Twitter.

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The Ward 4 councillor said he met with Wallace in Oct. 2019 under the auspices of bringing investment to Calgary.

“With Calgary being in an economic slump at the time, I believed any large-scale investment should be encouraged,” Chu wrote.

“After the letter was sent, nothing was communicated back. I have had no further communication with Mr. Wallace since then.”

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Chu joined Nenshi in a call for a police investigation, pledging his support.

He also said he was relieved to hear the plot to entrap the mayor failed.

“Mayor Nenshi and I often disagreed on many civic issues, but one area where he is unimpeachable is his character, and the idea of him taking a bribe is truly unbelievable,” Chu wrote. He added if he was aware he might have been used as part of the plot, he would have called authorities and alerted Nenshi immediately.

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A statement from Magliocca’s lawyer denied any involvement or knowledge of a scheme to entrap the former mayor.

“As this matter is under police investigation I do not feel it appropriate to have Mr. Magliocca speak to the media at this juncture,” Greg Dunn told Global News.

Alberta RCMP did not confirm whether an investigation into the allegations was opened on the matter, saying only when criminal charges were laid would RCMP confirm its investigation, the nature of the charges and the individuals charged.

–with files from Adam MacVicar, Global News

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