Mossad’s Canuck gets his man
T H E M A N B E H I N D T H E B O M B E R S
They were the deadliest alQaeda bombings of the 1990s, and the attacks that ignited the war on terror. Today, in the final instalment of a three-part series, a quiet British Columbia man who helped bomb the American embassies in East Africa is cornered by the CIA and Mossad. It
all began with a telephone
Counterterrorism officers at the Israeli Mossad were secretly eavesdropping on a phone line in the Middle East when they heard an exchange that caught their attention.
The caller mentioned that a suspected Egyptian terrorist named Ihab Saqr was planning to meet an unidentified member of the Iranian intelligence service MOIS.
The meeting was to take place the following week at a hotel in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, the former Soviet republic that shares borders with both Iran and insurgent Chechnya.
The “signals intelligence” was handed to a veteran Mossad officer, who was the Israeli agency’s counterterrorism liaison to the U.S. intelligence community.
The Baku meeting was a rare opportunity, the Mossad officer — now retired — told the National Post
in a series of interviews.
( He also signed a sworn affidavit. This account is based partly on his statements. His name has been withheld at his request.)
Although the content of the unpublished testimony is not entirely new, it sheds more light on the close relationship that developed between Mr. Guité and Mr. Brault.
Mr. Brault claimed, for example, that in November, 1998, Mr. Guité telephoned him and asked him to write a cheque to fellow adman Claude Boulay’s Everest Communications for $50,000.
Mr. Guité told him the cheque was being funnelled through Everest to help finance the Liberal Party of Quebec’s election campaign, and that the $50,000 was a direct request from Quebec Liberal leader Jean Charest, Mr. Brault said.
He said Mr. Guité told him to simply add the cost of the contribution to a sponsorship contract.
Mr. Guité has denied ever making such a request and Mr. Charest has denied soliciting or receiving this money. Mr. Boulay testified he received the $50,000, but it was not for the Liberal party. He said it was part of Groupaction’s contribution to a joint real estate venture with Everest.
The chummy relationship between the two men was evident when Groupaction gave Mr. Guité four tickets to the 1998 Italian Grand Prix in Monza.
Mr. Guité admitted asking Mr. Brault for the tickets. He said he and his family were going to Italy for a holiday and his son wanted to attend the Formula One race.
Mr. Guité said he made it clear that if they had to pay for the tickets he didn’t want them.
“I said, ‘ If there is a cost, I don’t want them.’ I was assured there was no cost ... And when I got the tickets, I asked again. They said, “No, there is no cost.’ ”
After Mr. Guité quit his government job in 1999, he started his own consulting company called Oro Communication and Mr. Brault put him on a retainer.
From January, 1999, to December, 2002, Mr. Brault paid Oro $136,532 in fees. He said he employed Mr. Guité because he had a “unique knowledge” in dealing with the government and with Canadian ad firms.
He said he also hired him to help sell his company and make alliances with international companies such as J. Walter Thompson and DDB-Palmer-Jarvis. Mr. Brault said he needed Mr. Guité to maintain his government contracts because without them the value of his company would be reduced by half.
He said he paid Mr. Guité a $20,000 fee for consulting on Groupaction’s purchase in 2001 of Lafleur Communications, another firm that benefited from the sponsorship program.
In 1997, Mr. Brault testified, he bought a Ford Mustang from Mr. Guité for $35,000.
He said Mr. Guité told him he had paid $62,000 for the car only a few months earlier. In fact, according to the sales invoice, Mr. Guité paid only $36,215.
Mr. Brault claims Mr. Guité told him his wife thought he was too old for the sports car and suggested he sell it. Mr. Brault claimed he thought he was getting a fantastic deal on the car.
Mr. Guité stated in his testimony that in 2001 Mr. Brault gave him a $25,000 “bridge financing” loan to help him buy a $140,000 boat.
Mr. Brault also said that before he purchased the car from Mr. Guité, he bought a new set of Pirelli racing tires as a gift for Mr. Guité at a cost of $1,304.28.
Groupactions’ accounts indicate the bill for the tires was from one of Mr. Brault’s government sponsorship contracts. Mr. Brault, however, said that was an accounting mistake.