The part about the interrogation (II)

Daniele Guarino couldn’t remember the name of the foreign affairs minister.


By Jorge Barrera
APTN National News

Daniele Guarino couldn’t remember the name of the foreign affairs minister.

The RCMP corporal sitting across from him in the interrogation room wasn’t much help either.

Cpl. John Athanasiades, with the RCMP’s Integrated Proceeds of Crime Unit, floated the name “Helen,” which may be a reference to Helena Guergis, who was minister of state for foreign affairs at the time.

Guarino, however, is sure that the minister is a man.

“The foreign affairs minister of Canada, um, Frenchman,” said Guarino. “Bernard, ba, ba, something like that.”

It’s March 26, 2008, the day of the Project Cancun raids. Maxime Bernier was the foreign affairs minister at the time.

Guarino, dressed in jeans and a sweater, was arrested earlier in the day after police found four weapons in his Montreal home after executing a search warrant.

Athanasiades, wearing a suit, had a list of things he wanted to probe during the interrogation. The guns were on the list, and so was the name of Michael Chamas.

Police found the guns, including three semi-automatics, in the garage, inside a bag beside Guarino’s four year-old daughter’s tricycles.

Guarino told Athanasiades the guns belonged to his brother who died in hospital after he was shot in a hit on March 9, 2007, while sitting in a Montreal bar called Caffe Albano, frequented mostly by “a bunch of Italian old men.”

Guarino said his brother Carmeine Guarino lived in the house, which was bought by their father, and he couldn’t bring himself to touch his stuff since the death.

“There are a few things that they found in my house that did not belong to me. They belonged to my brother,” said Guarino. “Those are my brother’s guns…Why would I keep guns in a house with a four year-old.”

To prove the affection he had for his dead brother, Guarino turned around and pulled up his shirt to show Athanasiades a tattoo of his brother on his back.

“This is my brother,” said Guarino, according to a video of the interrogation.

“I see that you were very close to him,” said Athanasiades.

Athanasiades said he was also dealing with a recent death, his father’s.

At one point Athanasiades appears to choke up and quickly apologizes saying it was very “unprofessional.”

Police also suspected Guarino of laundering money from individuals involved with the marijuana smuggling network operating out of Kahnawake and Akwesanse.

They also suspected he used a tanning salon called Exotica to convert U.S. drug money into Canadian currency.

They suspected that Guarino, along with two other people, invested some of this money into a company owned by Chamas, a businessman police believed was the organization’s “banker.”

An RCMP investigation found that between April 2004 and October 2007 Garda Canada transported a total of about $36.6 millionUS from the Bronzage Exotica tanning salon, which Guarino said he managed.

Garda Canada also transported a total of about $44.7 million in Canadian currency to the tanning salon over the same time period.

The investigation also found that some of the American currency shipments included counterfeit U.S. bills. Garda discovered that one July 3, 2007, U.S. currency run included 56 $50 counterfeit bills, according to an RCMP affidavit obtained by APTN National News.

An analysis by a U.S. Homeland Security official determined they were a high-quality counterfeits made in New York City, the affidavit said.

During the interrogation, Guarino denied he knowingly laundered any drug money.

“I never laundered anything,” said Guarino. “Where would I get the drug money?”

When Athanasiades started to ask about Chamas’ businesses, Guarino couldn’t quite remember the name of one the companies, Global Village, and kept repeating the word “global” while rapping his fingers on a water bottle. He then made a surprising claim.

“Something that has to do with the foreign affairs minister of Canada,” said Guarino.

“He knows the foreign affairs minister of Canada?” said Athanasiades, who revealed no hint of surprise.

Guarino, who never met the minister, then says that there is a link between Chamas’ company “global something” and the minister and a “gala.”

“We (Chamas and Guarino) were speaking one night and he said he had a big gala with the foreign affairs minister and that is how it came to be,” said Guarino.

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