Toronto businessman Nazim Gillani contradicted statements by former MP Rahim Jaffer in testimony Wednesday at a parliamentary committee.
Mr. Gillani, who is at the centre of the scandal surrounding Rahim Jaffer and his wife, former junior cabinet minister Helena Guergis, revealed that his business dealings with Mr. Jaffer were more extensive than previously thought.
Mr. Gillani told committee members he met Mr. Jaffer on seven occasions and even planned to travel to China with him earlier this month. He provided MPs with a formal contract between his company and the firm owned by Mr. Jaffer and business partner Patrick Glémaud. The contract, dated Sept. 21, 2009, was for help securing government funding for a renewable energy project.
Last week, Mr. Jaffer testified that he had a few exploratory meetings with Mr. Gillani but the two companies ended their relationship because of a lack of "synergies".
In his testimony, Mr. Gillani also:
» Apologized for writing an e-mail last fall that said: "Mr. Jaffer has opened up the Prime Minister's office to us." Mr. Gillani said he was "over-enthusiastic" and that Mr. Jaffer made no such promise.
» Denied cavorting with busty hookers with Mr. Jaffer.
» Said he never saw Mr. Jaffer use, possess or speak of cocaine. Mr. Gillani said he doesn't use cocaine and is not a drug dealer.
» Denied having incriminating cell phone photos of Mr. Jaffer and Ms. Guergis, as alleged by a private investigator who contacted the Conservatives.
» Said he did not set up offshore bank accounts for Mr. Jaffer or Ms. Guergis.
Read the timeline Mr. Gillani submitted to the committee:
Transcript of the live coverage:
3:00 Jill Mahoney: Hello everyone. Thank you for joining us as we live blog Nazim Gillani's appearance at the House of Commons government operations committee today.
3:01 Jill Mahoney: I'm Jill Mahoney, a Globe and Mail reporter. I'll be joined by senior political writer Jane Taber, who is making her way to the committee room on Parliament Hill.
3:01 Jill Mahoney: The committee is set to begin in half an hour, at 3:30 ET. Please submit your comments or questions. We'll try to get to as many as we can before Mr. Gillani starts testifying.
3:02 Jill Mahoney: Today is the first time Mr. Gillani, a Toronto-area businessman, will speak publicly about his ties to Rahim Jaffer, a former Conservative MP. The two men's companies explored business ventures last year.Mr. Gillani was thrust into the spotlight after recent reports of a boozy dinner with Mr. Jaffer and a group of business colleagues last September. The next day, Mr. Gillani sent an e-mail saying: "Mr. Jaffer has opened up the Prime Minister's office to us."
3:03 Jill Mahoney: The claim helped spark the lobbying scandal that has dogged Mr. Jaffer. Last week, Mr. Jaffer told the members of the government operations committee -- the same committee that will hear Mr. Gillani's testimony -- that he had never lobbied the government. Since then, however, four Conservative ministers have said Mr. Jaffer made representations to officials in their offices.
3:04 Jill Mahoney: Click here to read a story Jane wrote yesterday about what Mr. Gillani intends to say at today's committee meeting.
3:06 [Comment From W B Devitt: ]Welcome Back Jill, TY again for taking the time to present this format.
3:08 Jill Mahoney: Here's a link for a webcast of the committee's proceedings. It should go live once things get under way at 3:30 ET.
3:11 Jill Mahoney: Click here to check out the (lengthy!) coverage by Jane and I of Rahim Jaffer's testimony at the same committee a week ago.
3:12 : Hi from the Government Ops committee. Reporters and political staffer are assembling.