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Former North Vancouver real estate agent acquitted in kidnapping

A North Vancouver real estate agent and another woman have been acquitted on kidnapping and unlawful confinement charges in a case linked to gangs.

Nazfar Mirhadi and Veronica Moncur were found not guilty in B.C. Supreme Court on Wednesday, but five others were found guilty.

The seven were arrested in October, 2011, after a 29-year-old man was kidnapped from a restaurant in downtown Vancouver.

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At the time of the arrests, police said the kidnapping involved several suspects linked to the Red Scorpions and Independent Soldiers gangs.

They had said the kidnappers were acting on behalf of a criminal organization in eastern Canada.

During the trial in February, the Crown argued Ms. Mirhadi played a central role in the kidnapping that began at a sports bar in Vancouver's West End.

Court heard Sulaiman Safi was kidnapped at the Denman Tap House, where he had gone to meet Ms. Mirhadi because she had asked him whether he could transfer $400,000 to the U.S.

Prosecutor Sandra Dworkin said Mr. Safi could do it if he was given $440,000, but something went wrong with the transfer, and the money didn't get to where it was supposed to go.

Court heard Mr. Safi was kidnapped at a meeting to discuss the missing money.

Police had been alerted to the kidnapping and had surveillance on the Richmond location where Mr. Safi was observed being put in the Mazda.

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Court heard Mr. Safi eventually escaped from the vehicle and ran, with police seizing a number of guns and cellphones.

Ms. Mirhadi is no longer a real estate agent.

Mr. Safi, who testified at the trial via video link, is serving time in a California prison after pleading guilty to being involved in a scheme to traffic seven kilograms of cocaine and 20 kilograms of ecstasy.

The five who were convicted for kidnapping and unlawful confinement were Demple Brar, 43, of Richmond; Robert Carr, 29, of Abbotsford; Edmond Gammel, 25, of Surrey; David Tarrant, 29, of Kamloops; and Thomas Crawford, 31, of Kamloops.

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