Revelations during the trial of Cameron Ortis, a former senior RCMP intelligence official, suggest that leaked information regarding a major RCMP operation could have potentially jeopardized international investigations, specifically involving the U.S. and Australian Federal Police.
Key Player in an International Scandal
Ortis faces six charges, notably four counts of violating the Security of Information Act. At 51, Ortis is specifically accused of “intentionally and without authority” sharing special operational details with Salim Henareh and Muhammad Ashraf. An additional count alleges an attempt to share confidential details with Farzam Mehdizadeh.
Evidence from the trial disclosed that the RCMP was keenly observing the trio, especially their money services enterprises, which were suspected to have connections with Altaf Khanani. Khanani is believed to have facilitated money laundering operations for terrorist groups.
Key Evidence Surfaces
Retired staff sergeant Patrick Martin, who penned an investigation report for Project Oryx detailing Khanani’s activities, is playing a crucial role in the ongoing trial. This report has come to be a significant evidence piece in the Crown’s case against Ortis.
In the report, Martin elaborated that Khanani had connections in Canada that helped in reconciling transactions for him. This report, however, made its way into questionable hands, as the Crown contends. Extracts from this report, along with other sensitive police intelligence, were allegedly dispatched to Ashraf with a note clarifying its origins. The note read, “This is not a trick… I do, however, have the ability to access a wide variety of information.”
The Crown strongly alleges that Ortis was behind this dispatch.
The International Repercussions
The leaks have broad-reaching implications. Martin, while being questioned by Crown lawyer John MacFarlene, emphasized, “If subjects know that they’re being watched by the RCMP or investigated by the armed security police force, they may change their tactics… And it would certainly affect our investigation.”
“It could totally shut it down,” Martin warned. Moreover, he stressed that the fallout would not be limited to Canada. This could, in fact, have a “ripple effect on other ongoing investigations globally,” affecting relations with international police forces like the DEA in the U.S.
Ortis, however, has contested these charges, maintaining his innocence. His defense, led by lawyer Jon Doody, asserts that all his actions were within his official capacity and mandate. As part of his defense strategy, Doody commenced his cross-examination of Martin, hinting at possible online undercover operations.
Furthermore, allegations have also emerged linking Ortis to Vincent Ramos, a business leader accused of supplying encrypted devices to criminals, including those in the Khanani network and other drug syndicates.
Khanani, at the epicenter of this controversy, was apprehended in Florida in 2015, later admitting to conspiracy charges related to money laundering.