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Businessman at centre of Jaffer allegations to tell MPs his side of the story

Nazim Gillani, whose dining choices, companions and business dealings have helped drag the federal Tories into the middle of the messy Jaffer-Guergis affair, has already provided a Commons committee with potentially more fuel for the fire.

VANCOUVER, B.C. - Nazim Gillani, whose dining choices, companions and business dealings have helped drag the federal Tories into the middle of the messy Jaffer-Guergis affair, has already provided a Commons committee with potentially more fuel for the fire.

Gillani is to testify Wednesday, but his spokesman said the committee already has in hand six documents, including what he says is a contract between Gillani's company and the company headed by former MP Rahim Jaffer and Jaffer's partner.

"(Gillani) will clarify a number of issues relating to current issues, and that should go a long way to helping people better understand him," said Brian Kilgore, who Gillani hired earlier this month after allegations began to arise about his relationship with Jaffer.

A timeline of events is also among the documents being examined by the Commons committee looking into allegations of illegal lobbying.

It was a private investigator's interest in Gillani that ultimately led to Helena Guergis being kicked out of cabinet and the Conservative caucus, and Jaffer being accused of influence peddling on behalf of his company Green Power Generation.

Gillani claimed in an email to colleagues last September that Jaffer would open doors to the Prime Minister's office for them.

Jaffer and his business partner Patrick Glemaud have consistently denied any improper lobbying, saying that they only ever approached government officials seeking information about different programs.

Long before Gillani's name surfaced in Ottawa political circles, Gillani was making a name of sorts for himself in the Vancouver area, where he and his family immigrated from London in 1974, when he was seven.

Today, Gillani bills himself as "43 years old - single - very committed to my work," on a personal profile he maintains online.

Under education, he lists Simon Fraser University for economics and notes he "worked on" an international marketing certificate from the British Columbia Institute of Technology in 1993.

The profile doesn't mention that when Gillani left Vancouver and headed East, he left a trail of unresolved lawsuits, accusations of unpaid bills and several angry clients who allege he owes them thousands of dollars.

Robert Rusbourne filed suit against Gillani over a 1998 investment in a company called Global Digital Information. He said in an interview that he'd played cricket with Gillani in the early '90s, and was approached by him several years later about the investment.

Rusbourne remembers Gillani as "a nice enough guy."

That was before the investment spawned a lawsuit.

"It didn't go, it was just a scam, when we tried to say 'OK, this is the deal,' it was impossible to contact him," the 60-year-old B.C. home designer said in an interview.

He launched a civil lawsuit, but said his lawyer was unable to serve Gillani with papers. He was advised to drop the suit, and he did.

"If he finished up behind bars for the rest of his life, well, serves him right," Rusbourne said.

Kilgore questioned the validity of Rusbourne's claims.

Brian Watson did marketing for Gillani in the early '90s when Gillani was president of Adam Records. He said he had a huge advertising budget until 1996, when Watson arrived as a padlock was being installed on the office doors.

"He was always really personable and a smooth operator," said Watson, now 42. "Looking back you're like 'Wow, those guys spent money like it was a major label."'

A default court judgment in 1998 ordered Adam Records to pay $104,531 to European music distributor Koch International for money Koch had paid in advance royalties and an accidental overpayment.

There are at least a dozen civil court cases listed against Gillani in B.C., for everything from stocks allegedly never delivered to unpaid credit card bills. Many of the files contain notes that he didn't show for court dates or couldn't be served.

Asked about the various allegations, Kilgore said he and Gillani would want to sit down with the "appropriate paperwork" and speak to each case individually.

Gillani did appear in court to plead guilty in January 2004 for not filing income tax returns between 1994 and 1997. He was fined $4,000 and ordered to comply within 30 days, but the prosecutor dropped three more charges for the same offence between 1998 and 2000.

A warrant issued for his arrest for failing to comply was only cancelled by Crown counsel last December.

Gillani's legal troubles didn't end in B.C. He is due to appear in court in Ontario on May 7 on charges of fraud and conspiracy to commit an indictable offence unrelated to Jaffer or Guergis.

Published reports claim Gillani fled Vancouver for Toronto in 1995, shortly after a violent run-in with a dissatisfied investor, but Kilgore said that and many other allegations are not true.

"We state clearly that Nazim Gillani was never a banker for the Hells Angels or a money launderer," Kilgore told The Canadian Press. "And we say a story about him being beaten up and having his cheek broken and his nose broken are false."

He also refuted the oft-cited "busty hookers" who supposedly joined Gillani and Jaffer for one notorious dinner last September, after which Jaffer was arrested for speeding and later charged with impaired driving and cocaine possession.

"(Gillani and Jaffer) discussed some business and then they were joined by some other people and later that evening they were joined by Mr. Gillani's girlfriend and two of her friends," he said. "Those are the women portrayed in media all across Canada as the 'busty hookers' and they are not busty hookers."

Today, Gillani is CEO of a Toronto-area company called International Strategic Investments, described on its website as "assisting companies identify and access various resources which they may be unaware of."

It claims to have been successful in helping clients obtain grants and loans from various government bodies.

 
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