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.
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.
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.