Former Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi said he has faith “appropriate authorities” will investigate an alleged plot to trap him accepting cash from Russian oligarchs.
The story, published by Canadaland on Monday, alleges that a political fixer was hired to concoct a plan – “Operation Peacock” – to put Calgary’s former mayor in a position to accept illegal Russian cash.
The plan, as reported, was intended to catch Nenshi in a corruption scandal. It failed as the mayor instructed the parties to conduct business through the proper civic channels.
“How disappointing to read about this alleged plot against me. It appears that there are people that seem to think that their money and their connections make them more important or powerful than everyday citizens. And yet again, citizens have proven them wrong,” Nenshi wrote in a statement provided to LiveWire Calgary on Monday.
It’s not the first time that Nenshi has been at odds with the city’s development industry. Members of that local industry were named in the Canadaland story.
In 2013, Global News published a video of a meeting hosted by Cal Wenzel ahead of the 2013 Calgary municipal election that showed a concerted effort to have certain candidates elected who were perceived to be developer-friendly.
Later, in an October 2013 CBC radio interview, Nenshi later referred to that video as being like something out of the Godfather movie. Wenzel had filed a $6 million defamation lawsuit in November, after that interview.
In 2017, then-mayor Nenshi informed media that enough funds had been raised to pay back the $300,000 to cover court costs for that lawsuit.
Calgary political scientists weigh in
Two Calgary political scientists posted quick thoughts to social media after the story broke Monday morning.
Nenshi said that as a community, citizens shouldn’t stand for this kind of “assault on democracy” that’s been alleged in the Canadaland article.
“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,” Nenshi said.
“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.”