When SNC Lavalin funded Saadi Gaddafi‘s lavish three-month-long trip to Canada in 2008, the firm showered him with young male prostitutes — most of whom were between the ages of 14 and 15 years old — in the weeks both before and after former Prime Minister Stephen Harper‘s government raised the age of consent from 14 to 16 years old in May of that year.
One of those former prostitutes, now 27, tells The Chronicle that he was on a week-long trip to Toronto with a Vancouver-based mentorship program when he was offered $10,000 by a business executive to spend the night with Gaddafi. He did so twice, was paid in cash, and has never been approached by the RCMP for questioning. His story will be the subject of forthcoming reporting.
Gaddafi’s bisexuality had been a closely guarded secret. That it might become public in such a culturally conservative nation was a great concern of his father, Muammar Gaddafi. When the dictator discovered that Saadi had been engaging in a months-long homosexual relationship with British-born footballer Jay Bothroyd while the two were teammates in Italy, he quickly arranged marriages for them both.
When Julian Assange released 250,000 classified diplomatic communications through Wikileaks in November of 2010, at Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton‘s request The New York Times redacted a memo from it’s reporting that disclosed Gaddafi’s ‘profligate affairs with men and women’. The secret provided both the State Department and SNC Lavalin extortionate leverage over Saadi.
At the time Saadi had been in competition with his brother, Saif Gaddafi, to be named as his father’s successor. Saadi played a substantial role over the country’s infrastructure development and had particularly significant influence over Libya’s state-owned oil company — a crux of influence that allowed him to extract more than $160 million in kickbacks from SNC Lavalin’s Vice President Riadh Ben Aissa, including yachts, Canadian real estate, and lots of cash, in exchange for Libyan construction and infrastructure contracts.
In 2009, the Gaddafis had begun aggressively advocating for a one-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, where individuals would have equal rights and an equal vote irrespective of their religious or linguistic heritage, or whether they live in parts of Isreal or parts of Palestine.
By 2010, Charles Bronfman, the Canadian billionaire and patriarch of one of the wealthiest families in the world, wanted regime change in Libya. Now in his late 80s, Charles’ son, Stephen Bronfman executes his father’s wishes. Stephen manages the bulk of the wealth of his father’s branch of the family at their Montreal-based private equity fund, known as Claridge.
By December of 2010, Western media began wall-to-wall coverage of Arab-world protests that media outlets were encouraged to brand ‘the Arab Spring’, ostensibly as a reaction to a June 2009 speech that then-President Barack Obama delivered in Cairo.
At Claridge, Stephen Bronfman employs Emma Griffin, the wife of Neil Bruce, the former CEO of SNC Lavalin. Bruce was fired just months after former Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould‘s jaw-dropping testimony before the House of Commons Justice Committee that Trudeau had pressured her to drop the criminal prosecution of the firm. Fearing criminal charges at the height of the controversy in 2019, both Griffin and Bruce abruptly departed Canada to relocate abroad.
Stephen Bronfman is the first cousin of Sara Bronfman-Igtet, both heirs of the Seagrams liqueur fortune founded by their grandfather, Samuel Bronfman. The family has been the principal financier of the Liberal Party since the Prohibition Era, when the family was made exceptionally wealthy by the cross-border bootlegging of the American mafia. When Trudeau became Leader of the Liberal Party in 2013, he asked Bronfman to serve as the party’s chief fundraiser. Bronfman donated millions to Trudeau’s Leadership race and encouraged Trudeau to get into politics ahead of his first run for Parliament in 2008.
Sara is married to Basit Igtet, who had aspired to become the President of Libya following the fall of Muammar Gaddafi. In 2010, Igtet founded the Independent Libya Foundation (ILF), which supported the fledgling rebel movement in its infancy. Igtet also founded the Libyan National Transitional Council, tasked with setting up a post-Gaddafi government. Igtet lobbied dozens of governments to augment the process of recognition of the NTC as the sole legitimate governing body in Libya.
In 2010, just weeks after Igtet launched the ILF, Ben Aissa began redirecting SNC Lavalin money that had been intended as kickbacks for Gaddafi. Those funds were instead directed to militant groups in the region, including to various rebel factions being supported by the ILF.
In March 2011, Igtet hosted General Abdul Fatah Younis, the former Interior Minister of Libya under the Gaddafi government, turned leader of the rebel armed forces. Igtet facilitated dialogue between Younis and NATO during a critical time for the rebel movement, which ultimately saw the NATO-led 2011 military intervention in Libya. In November of 2011, Igtet organized an ILF delegation in Benghazi to present strategies for rebel re-integration. The NTC declared its base of operations in Benghazi to be the temporary capital of the Libyan Republic.
By late July of 2011, when it was clear that the Gaddafi government would fall to the rebel forces being led by Fatah Younis (who the rebels presumed would be Libya’s new leader) suddenly the NTC reported him dead. The NTC’s Michigan State-educated oil minister, Ali Tarhouni, claimed that Younis was killed by members of an anti-Gaddafi militia, but others claimed he was assainated by CIA operatives working in conjunction with the NTC.
Later the NTC claimed that Younis was summoned from the front by a committee of four judges to the rebels’ de facto government in Benghazi, though the NTC said that it didn’t know why this arrest warrant was issued, who was present at the meeting when the decision was made, or on what basis the decision was made. According to military spokesman Colonel Ahmed Omar Bani, the judges who summoned Younis did not have the authority do so and the defense minister had written a letter recalling the arrest warrant.
Younis was brought back to the Benghazi area on July 27, and held at a military compound until July 28, when he was summoned to the Defense Ministry for questioning. When Fatah Younis left the compound, two men from the security team escorting the detainees opened fire on Younis from their car with automatic weapons.
In an email to Hillary Clinton, journalist Sidney Blumenthal details his efforts to ensure that Western firms would have access to Libyan oil resources. In the sprawling email, Blumenthal wrote:
“[Prime Minister] Zidan’s efforts are complicated by the ongoing legal problems of former National Transitional Council (NTC) leader Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, who will be questioned by both military and civilian prosecutors regarding his role in the July 2011 assassination of General Abdel-Fattah Younis, Gadhafi’s former interior minister and one of the first major defectors from the old regime. Jalil and 10 other NTC officials have been charged with Younis’ death, though none have been arrested”.
Tarhouni led both the oil and finance ministries of the NTC. He acted as a frequent spokesman for the council and wielded considerable influence as a prominent liberal in the opposition, and served briefly as Prime Minister during the transitional government from October to November of 2011. At a press conference in late November 2011, he was offered a position in his successor’s government, but he declined, claiming the new cabinet was “supported from the outside by money, arms and PR”.
He criticised the newly elected Prime Minister’s selection of government ministers as “the elite” and said the government was not sufficiently representative of the country. In 2012, Tarhouni founded the National Centrist Party and became its first leader. In April of 2014 he became President of the Constituent Assembly of Libya, tasked with drafting the Nation’s constititon, a process still ongoing.
Meanwhile, as early as March of 2011, a Libyan soldier in Benghazi told the BBC that he personally heard Saadi Gaddafi give orders to military commanders to fire on a group of well-armed insurgents that had been roaming the country and instigating political instability. The Gaddafi’s regularly referred to the rebels as Al-Quada, but the militants were in possession of modern western armaments. By August of 2011, Tripoli had fallen to the rebel insurgents and the Gaddafi government moved its capital to Sirte.
After his father had been repeatedly calling for a cease fire and negotiations with the rebel demonstrators for months, in September of 2011, Arab media was reporting that Saadi Gaddafi wanted to join the NTC but was not allowed to do so by that Council.
On October 20, 2011, Muammar Gaddafi was killed by a well-armed militia.
Through the course of the conflict, Ben Aissa had been transferring monies to Saadi Gaddafi regularly through various foreign investment vehicles. Ben Aissa even used SNC Lavalin funds to hire Cynthia Vanier to smuggle Gaddafi to Mexico as the Libyan dictatorship was falling to the NATO-backed (and Igtet-architected) rebel factions in late 2011. Mexico refused, claiming that an international criminal smuggling organization was attempting to make the arrangements. Gaddafi fled to Niger before being extradited to Libya where the regime claims that he is currently imprisoned.
The Gaddafi family has filed lawsuits demanding his release, because the original premise of his deteniton — his alleged murder of a football coach in Italy, which the family denies — had been overturned in 2018.
When Ben Aissa was indicted in 2013, the RCMP and Swiss prosecutors laid out a financial web in which tens of millions of dollars flowed from SNC Lavalin accounts in Canada and the United Kingdom to offshore companies controlled by Ben Aissa. In March of 2011, those funds also began to flow to militant groups in the region.
Sara and Basit are currently living abroad, reportedly to avoid a forthcoming criminal prosecution in the Eastern District of New York for her involvement in financing the sex cult known as NXIVM (pronounced Nex-e-um). Sara’s sister, Clare Bronfman, pled guilty for her role in the sex trafficking operation, and Keith Raniere, the leader of the sex cult, was convicted on human trafficking, forced labor conspiracy, and other charges. The trial revealed that Raniere had been sleeping with girls as young as twelve years old.
Until late January of 2020, Sara and Basit had been living in the south of France where the couple just finished building a $12 million USD mansion. In January she abruptly departed France, leaving her hotel Domaine des Andéoles in the hands of managers. Bronfman had been managing and financing Campus Beyond the School in a leased municipal building until it was shut down just weeks before she departed France.
That school had been administering the Rainbow Cultural Garden curriculum, designed by Raniere, in which young children are educated in up to seven language immersions simultaneously. Critics say that the pedagogy does not work, and children end up unable to achieve literacy in even a single language. Rainbow Cultural Garden schools have been shut down in Miami, Monterrey, and elsewhere in the United States.