Friday 29 June 2012

A Gadhafi plan without Cynthia Vanier

June 29. It was allegedly a complex plot involving forged documents, private jets, luxury villas, and highly paid security personnel. Success would have brought Saadi Gadhafi, the playboy third son of fallen Libyan dictator Muammar Gadhafi, into exile in Mexico.

The sponsor was to be the Canadian engineering firm SNC-Lavalin, which had banked hundreds of millions of dollars in business off Saadi as the regime’s point man. And the organizer was allegedly Cynthia “Cyndy” Vanier, a conflict mediator from Mount Forest, Ontario.

Saadi Gadhafi

But the only acknowledged plot does not fit this scenario. It was instead much more personal, the result of a separate plan by Gary Peters, a Cambridge, Ontario-based bodyguard who counts Saadi Gadhafi as both client and friend.

“Saadi is a gentleman,” Peters told La politica. “If you’re his friend he won’t leave you in the lurch.”

Mr. Peters has previously claimed that all legal efforts to move Mr. Gadhafi from Libya to Mexico were dropped by him on June 16, 2011. However, La politica has learned that Mr. Peters travelled to Mexico twice on a private jet after he and Ms. Vanier went on an SNC-Lavalin sponsored fact-finding mission to Libya from July 16 to July 26, 2011.

“It was early August,” says Mr. Peters. “Went down on a Monday, came back on a Wednesday. Went down on a Friday, came back on a Saturday.”

Mr. Peters did not use the San Diego-based aircraft brokerage that Ms. Vanier had contracted for the SNC-Lavalin sponsored mission to Libya. That firm was owned and operated by Greg Gillispie, whose business partner, Gabby de Cueto, is in jail with Ms. Vanier in Mexico.

“Nobody knew,” says Mr. Peters. “My trips had nothing to do with SNC-Lavalin, Gillispie, or Cyndy. This was a personal thing.”

The two trips resulted in the purchase of a multi-million dollar compound in Punta Mita. This property was bought by an associate of Mr. Gadhafi’s, and held in a bank trust. This was not Cynthia Vanier’s widely reported “Casa Kadafi”, a home she intended to purchase in nearby La Cruz.

“Saadi wouldn’t use that for a shit house,” says Peters. “He is extravagant, like his father.”

Barrie Rice, a respected close protection professional who counts Academy Award winning director Kathryn Bigelow as one of his clients, was with Ms. Vanier and Mr. Peters on their July trip to Libya. Soon after that trip Mr. Peters made a proposal to Mr. Rice.

“In August of last year, after we came back from Libya, Gary Peters offered me a job in Mexico,” Mr. Rice told the La politica. “It was at $1,000 a day, and I told him I wasn’t interested.”

The job would have been to protect Mr. Gadhafi in exile. However, Mr. Rice told La politica that he firmly believes Mr. Peters was acting on his own.

“I don’t believe Cyndy Vanier was involved in any plot to smuggle Saadi Gadhafi to Mexico.”

Mexican court documents reveal detailed immigration information for Ms. Vanier and Mr. Gillispie going back many years. But there is no evidence of Mr. Peters entering the country in August, 2011.

“There won’t be,” says Peters. “That’s a trick of the trade.”

Mr. Peters says that there are ways of entering a country that involve the use of passports but leave no record.  The legality of such a strategy appears uncertain.

“There is no ‘trick of the trade’ here, in the legal sense,” says Walter McKay, a security consultant with extensive experience advising law enforcement in Mexico. “He either bribed someone, or entered under an assumed name, or snuck in under the fuselage.”

According to Mr. Peters, the passports for Mr. Gadhafi, his wife, and two young children, were to cost $100,000 each, yet could be obtained legally.

“You have a passport issued by the Mexican government,” said Mr. Peters. “It’s a legal document.”

However, according to Mexican law foreigners cannot legally obtain a Mexican passport until they have lived in Mexico under an FM2 visa for at least 5 years. With a Mexican spouse, the time-frame shortens to two years. A written test is also required.

“There are fees, but these are administrative fees,” says Mr. MacKay. “You cannot legally ‘buy’ one.”

After the purchase of the Mexican property Mr. Peters returned to Libya, escorting his friend to the border with Niger, where the younger Gadhafi was granted asylum on September 11, 2011. For Mr. Gadhafi to then participate in any plot with Ms. Vanier, who was arrested last November 10 in Mexico City, seems far-fetched to Mr. Peters.

“As far as Saadi Gadhafi is concerned, or any of the Gadhafi family, they will not deal with her.”

Ms. Vanier’s charges include document forgery, human trafficking, and participation in organized crime.  She recently lost a legal appeal that could have seen her released on May 24. No trial date has been set.

(TE Wilson is the author of Mezcalero, a Detective Sánchez novel.)

Twitter: @TimothyEWilson
Email: lapoliticaeslapolitica [at] gmail [dot] com

N.B.: If you are having difficulty submitting to the e-mail feed at the top of this page, press "enter" on your keyboard instead of the "submit" button.


  1. So 'tricks of the trade' is why Peters walks free?

  2. There is a lot I don't get about this myself, Toe. The story ended up being of no interest to news outlets. (You can probably tell from the style that it is not a typical blog post.) But, no go, despite the fact that it advances our understanding considerably and raises some very serious questions about who broke the law, and who didn't.

  3. In Canada now, it only takes 30 pieces of silver.

  4. According to this article all fingers are pointing in another why not release Vanier are they afraid to admit a mistake?

  5. Libya's interim leaders have approved a request to open an investigation into Muammar Gaddafi's son Saadi over the murder of former midfielder and coach Basheer Al-Rryani who played for the national team in the 1980s.Al-Rryani was known as 'number nine' because of a law forbidding any players but Saadi Gaddafi,who had a brief career as a soccer player,from being mentioned by name.Al-Rryani had coached at Saadi Gaddafi's club for several years and was last seen at Saadi Gaddafi's seaside resort four days before his body was returned to his family. He was tortured and killed in December 2005(from Portal to Africa website)As an added tidbit of info i have just found out from Colonel Al Shamekh who was stationed at the Benina Airbase at Benghazi that the Libyan troops we watched secure the airport on 17Feb 2011 were a brigade from Sirte under the leadership of Saadi Gaddafi & Abdullah Senussi.For anybody interested we have published a book entitled Voices 4 Libya and is available at or Amazon.As noted all profits go to benefit the Libyan children fund and families of the martyr's.

  6. Dear _______

    Thank you for your email of June 2, 2012, regarding the situation of Ms. Cynthia Vanier in Mexico.

    Ms. Vanier has been charged with very serious crimes, specifically the falsification of documents, human trafficking and participating in organized crime. Since her arrest, Canadian consular officials have been in close contact with her and her family to provide support and assistance; however, she is subject to Mexican laws. Canadian officials in Mexico City have conducted consular visits and raised concerns about her health and well-being with Mexican authorities. Due to provisions in the Privacy Act, I cannot share further details about Ms. Vanier's case.

    When Canadian citizens are detained abroad, consular officials can communicate with families and representatives, request access to the detainee, and seek to ensure fair treatment under local laws and international norms. However, they cannot ask authorities to exempt Canadians from local laws or interfere in the judicial affairs of another country, just as we would not allow a foreign country to intervene in a legal case taking place here in Canada. For more information on consular services offered to Canadians detained abroad, I invite you to visit

    Thank you for taking the time to write and share your concerns.

    Sincerely, The Honourable Diane Ablonczy, P.C., M.P.
    Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs)

  7. My Response:

    Indeed, she has been charged, and absolutely nothing by way of Evidence has been shown. Canada has a wonderful excuse to not intervene, except Mexico doesn't have any authority or legitimacy in anything judicial and now that the BOUGHT Pena is in, I doubt there will be Reform. Did you ever consider it would not be an intervention to find out if indeed they had any iron-clad Evidence? It seems to me that Canada is covering up for the criminal Gary Peters who fully admits to going to Mexico to buy properties for Saadi. And now that Mexico has just Bought Another Election and no more headless bodies in the streets, we as Canadians can continue to vacation there and of course let's protect SNC-Lavalin. Thank you for your response.