Calgary police say they'll investigate alleged Russian bribe plot aimed at Nenshi

Former Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi, left, was allegedly targeted in a 2019 plot to set him up to take a bribe. The purported scheme involved a letter to Russian diplomats that was signed by Coun. Sean Chu, right, and Joe Magliocca, who represented Ward 2 at the time. (CBC - image credit)
Former Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi, left, was allegedly targeted in a 2019 plot to set him up to take a bribe. The purported scheme involved a letter to Russian diplomats that was signed by Coun. Sean Chu, right, and Joe Magliocca, who represented Ward 2 at the time. (CBC - image credit)

Calgary police say they will launch an investigation into the alleged plot to entrap former mayor Naheed Nenshi.

Nenshi called for city police and the RCMP to investigate after news broke this week about an alleged unsuccessful plan to set up and record the former mayor accepting Russian money as a bribe.

Before officers can investigate, however, they need a formal statement, says Calgary Police Service spokesperson Emma Poole.

They are in the process of reaching out to Nenshi, she says.

The purported plot to entrap Nenshi, titled "Operation Peacock" and revealed by news site Canadaland, centres around claims by former political operative David Wallace that he was hired by developers and conservatives to construct a scenario where politicians would be put in a compromising position to accept a favour.

Letter signed by Chu sent to diplomats

On Monday, Wallace posted a letter to social media that was sent to Russian diplomats and signed by Ward 4 Coun. Sean Chu and then-councillor Joe Magliocca. Wallace is cc'ed on the letter dated Oct. 19, 2019.

David Wallace/Twitter
David Wallace/Twitter

Chu says he sent the letter in response to someone who approached him about investing in Calgary, and now believes he may have been caught up in the alleged plan to discredit Nenshi.

"Like many others, I have read reports there was a conspiracy against the mayor. I knew nothing of this plan until a few days ago," Chu wrote in a statement he posted on social media late Wednesday night.

Chu echoed Nenshi's calls for CPS and RCMP to look into the claims, and said he would co-operate with any investigation.

Chu said he met with Wallace in October 2019 and had no further communication with him after sending the letter.

Nenshi 'shocked' over councillors' letter

Nenshi said Thursday he is "shocked" the two councillors wrote a letter to the Russian government.

He doesn't recall Chu or Magliocca ever being involved in economic development or international protocol visits.

"I am just laughing at the thought of the two of them trying to set up an agenda in a program for international dignitaries and/or investors," he said.

"It was just such a strange thing to do."

LISTEN | Nenshi talks about 'strange' letter and 'laughable' plot:

As for what happened to him at the time, Nenshi dismissed the attempt to tarnish his reputation as "laughable."

"It was pretty clear that this was not a legitimate thing right from the get go," he said.

"It's [like] a movie, but not like a heist movie, like a comedy about really incompetent people trying to do stuff."