This is getting to be more like an episode of the Sopranos every day.
Yesterday we learned that a private investigator, called "Magnum P.I." by Jack Layton during question period, was the source of the information that led to Harper's turfing Helena Guergis from the party -- the Conservative Party that is, not the party going on at Club Paradise.
Today the P.I. has a name: Derek Snowdy. Snowdy was investigating Nazim Gillani for a private client who lost money in a deal with Gillani. "Big Daddy G" as Gillani calls himself, bragged to Snowdy that he had photos of Guergis and Jaffer partying with high-priced hookers and cocaine. He also claimed that 3 offshore companies had been "reserved" to hold cash for Guergis and Jaffer in Belize, a haven for tax dodges and money laundering.
Snowdy attempted to meet with Peter Donolo, Ignatieff's chief of staff, apparently so directed by his client, but was rebuffed. D'oh! He then went to the Conservatives with his information, and Harper took this seriously enough to boot Guergis not just from her cabinet post but completely out of caucus.
Guergis calls the allegatios "bizarre" and vehemently denies them. Circumstantial evidence suggests otherwise. Her husband, party boy Rahim Jaffer was pulled over for speeding, blew over the legal limit, and was found to be in possession of cocaine. If your hubby is doing blow, it's hardly bizarre to think you might be too. Not necessarily the case, but hardly "bizarre." In fact, ever since the word "cocaine" surfaced in this story, I've been thinking about her overly aggressive behaviour at the Charlottetown airport in a whole new light.
Nothing is substantiated yet, and Guergis' lawyer says that this is mere bragging on the part of Gillani and is completely untrue. Granted, Gillani is hardly a credible figure, but taking blackmail photos at parties he sets up is apparently a pattern of his. In fact, many of the people he has allegedly swindled in the past have been reluctant to come forward for just that reason. As for Snowdy's client, he wishes to remain anonymous, because he said he received threats from Gillani.
Meanwhile, in this National Post blog, Jeff Joudras says
Even if these latest accusations prove to be groundless, at the very least it’s clear that Guergis made some very poor choices about who she has been associating with, as did Jaffer. A person’s character isn’t always readily apparent, and politicians certainly do have all kinds of people trying to develop relationships. And they can't read minds.Riiight. The office at a strip club, the hookers and the body guards were NO clue whatsoever.
He goes on to parrot the oft-repeated talking point that we should be talking about more substantive issues. Dude, I've got news for you and your ilk -- the integrity of our elected representatives is a substantive issue. Possible blackmail of cabinet ministers is a substantive issue. Even Harper thinks so. Vote for this post at Progressive Bloggers