Edmonton police raided a row of businesses along 111 Avenue near 93 Street on Wednesday, July 24, 2019. Agents from the Canada Revenue Agency could be seen handling computers and hard drives.
Shaughn Butts / Postmedia
Lawyers for controversial inner-city landlord Abdullah Shah have issued a statement after police executed search warrants on properties belonging to him and at least two associates this week, stressing that no one has been charged in the investigation.“Police regularly investigate matters and they do not always determine that any offence has been committed,” Erika Norheim, Shah’s lawyer, said in a written statement provided to Postmedia.“Often an investigation leads to the conclusion that no offence has been committed, and Mr. Shah is confident that he did not commit any of the potential offences under investigation.“Mr. Shah is happy to assist with any inquiries that the authorities may have.”Police and Canada Revenue Agency investigators could be seen entering five commercial properties along a block of 111 Avenue in McCauley Wednesday afternoon. Investigators appeared to be handling computers and hard drives.Police said the search warrants were part of a six-month investigation into a “group of property owners.” Postmedia has learned the investigation relates to allegations that include laundering the proceeds of crime, trafficking controlled substances and tax evasion.A police spokesperson said earlier this week that charges are pending but declined to name any suspects.All five 111 Avenue properties behind the police tape Wednesday are owned by three numbered companies. Their front windows were boarded up or otherwise covered. Only one had signage for a company that is listed as permanently closed.
Abdullah Shah, also known as Carmen Pervez, seen in October 2018.
Larry Wong Larry Wong /
Police also taped off and searched a single-family home in south Edmonton’s Haddow neighbourhood — an address that was listed on corporate registry searches for all three companies.Two of the McCauley addresses — 9325 111 Ave. and 9323 111 Ave. — are owned by a numbered company that lists Shah as its director and sole shareholder.Shah, also known as Carmen Pervez, is well known in Edmonton’s inner-city for owning a large number of rental properties that some neighbours associate with crime and disorder. He earlier did jail time for his role in a mortgage fraud scheme.Three of the properties are owned by numbered companies belonging to two individuals who, along with Shah, were named as respondents in a recent Public Health Act case related to housing standards and Alberta Health Services inspections.In that case, AHS sought an order to require the respondents to “facilitate inspections of all residential rental accommodations that they own, manage or control.” The respondents, including Shah, argued AHS must have an owner’s consent or a court order — arguing the legislation breaches the Charter of Rights and Freedoms’ protections against unreasonable searches.The court disagreed that the act is unconstitutional, finding that within reason, public health authorities have the right to inspect rental homes and apartments to enforce public health and safety standards, even without legal authorization or the owner or tenant’s consent.
Edmonton Police raided a row of businesses along 111 Avenue near 93 Street on Wednesday, July 24, 2019. Agents from the Canada Revenue Agency could be seen handling computers and hard drives. Photo by Shaughn Butts / Postmedia
Shaughn Butts /
In the wake of Wednesday’s raids, Shah’s lawyer questioned some of the police decisions.Shah has previously tangled with local police, filing several formal complaints against Edmonton Police Service officers over what he alleges is a campaign of harassment. That includes complaints against Det. Daniel Behiels, who has been the subject of two complaints by Shah. Behiels was involved in the most recent search warrants, Norheim said. Norheim said Alberta’s Law Enforcement Review Board recently sent one of the complaints back to EPS Chief Dale McFee for reinvestigation. If Beheils is found guilty of misconduct, he could face disciplinary sanctions. Behiels is also facing a disciplinary hearing related to the search of a residence owned by one of Shah’s associates. “It is evident that that Det. Behiels bears animosity toward Mr. Shah and it is surprising that the chief of police would allow Det. Behiels to remain assigned to files involving Mr. Shah,” Norheim said. In a statement, an Edmonton police spokesperson said “at this time, there are no concerns regarding Det. Behiels’ ability to objectively and fairly conduct his duties and he remains on active duty.” A spokesman for Canada Revenue Agency said earlier this week that its investigations are complex and can sometimes take months or years to firstname.lastname@example.org/jonnywakefield