Nazim Gillani rumour rundown: what’s true, what’s not
Local businessman Nazim Gillani testified in front of the standing committee on government operations and estimates in Ottawa on Wednesday, hoping to clear the air regarding his involvement in the Rahim Jaffer–Helena Guergis affair. For all those playing at home, please adjust scorecards accordingly:
Rumour: He hangs out with the Hells Angels.
Origin: Back when Gillani was still an unknown figure, the Toronto Star reported that he bragged to others about being a banker for the Hells Angels in Vancouver.
Status: False. The Star later said that it’s untrue, and on Wednesday Gillani said he never mentioned being tied to a biker gang.
Rumour: He dined with “busty hookers” on the night Rahim Jaffer was arrested for drunk driving and cocaine possession.
Origin: The article that started it all. On April 8, Kevin Donovan’s investigation into Jaffer’s alleged connection with Gillani opened with a dinner scene of the pair dining with “four business associates and three busty hookers.”
Status: False. At yesterday’s testimony, Gillani said the busty hookers were actually his then-girlfriend (it’s unclear if he’s referring to Jasmine, the escort he was apparently engaged to) and her two friends who aren’t hookers. Whoops. Still, those on the Twitterverse refuse to let this Internet meme die.
Rumour: He’s friends with Robert DeNiro’s son and was on the cover of Billboard magazine.
Origin: Tuesday’s update on Gillani’s apparently ridiculous lifestyle adds that he’s friends with the son of the Raging Bull actor and that he describes himself as being “featured on the cover of Billboard magazine with pop diva Samantha Fox.”
Status: False. The Star called Raphael DeNiro, and he says he never heard of Gillani. As for the Billboard claim, it’s sort of true. The Star couldn’t confirm it, but Global News did. The photo of the former pop star with Gillani was on page 31 of the July 13, 1996 issue of Billboard, when Gillani was a music exec.
Rumour: He set up offshore bank accounts for Rahim Jaffer and disgraced minister Helena Guergis.
Origin: Private detective Derek Snowdy informed the Star that Gillani told him that three offshore companies in Belize are set to hold cash for the couple.
Status: Unclear. Snowdy says he has the info, which prompted the prime minister to call the RCMP on the night of April 8 right before Guergis stepped down as minister, but it’s all very tight-lipped right now. Gillani denied the claim in yesterday’s testimony and Guergis has also refuted it. It’s also a weird coincidence that Guergis and Jaffer recently traveled to Belize.
Rumour: He does business in the VIP room of a strip club.
Origin: The original Gillani article in the Star says Gillani refers to Club Paradise as his “Bloor Street office.”
Status: Unclear. Global News confirmed with the staff at Club Paradise that Gillani is a client but says there is no VIP room at the club in which to conduct business. Still, many disgruntled businessmen say they’ve gone to the club with Gillani, and there might be cell phone photos to prove it. While we don’t know what the men talked about, it’s hard to believe they didn’t talk about business even once.
Rumour: He’s being investigated for tax evasion.
Origin: The first Gillani article says, “By last September, at least two major police departments and the federal taxman were after him on fraud or tax evasion allegations.”
Status: Technically false. Gillani denies it in his testimony, but B.C. court records show that he was fined $1,000 in 2004 for failing to comply with the Income Tax Act. York Regional Police also say that Gillani was charged with bilking the Rona hardware company out of $1.5 million. So while he might not be currently be under the microscope by the government, his past isn’t exactly spotless. Do people believe in second chances?
Rumour: He sent out an e-mail to his clients saying, “Mr. Jaffer has opened up the Prime Minister’s Office to us.”
Origin: Once again, it stemmed from the April 8 article that introduced the nation to Gillani.
Status: True. Gillani admits that he was “over-enthusiastic” about the situation but says Jaffer never told him that they had open access.