CANADA (Winnipeg Free Press) — A Winnipeg convenience store owner has been accused of trying to hire someone to kill his estranged business partner.
Amare Gebru, 38, was arrested last week on charges of conspiracy and uttering threats. He runs Teddy’s Convenience Store on Balmoral Street. None of the allegations have been proven and he is presumed innocent.
Details of the case were revealed publicly for the first time Tuesday during a bail hearing. There was no publication ban in place.
Provincial court Judge Sandy Chapman agreed to release Gebru on bail despite objections from the Crown. He was ordered to post a $5,000 surety and have no contact with the intended victim.
Crown attorney Keith Eyrikson told court Gebru was charged following an extensive police investigation which included wiretaps of his phone and surveillance of meetings he had with another individual.
Gebru and the alleged victim, a woman, went into business together last year, court was told. But they quickly had a falling out, with Gebru accusing her of stealing as much as $17,000 from the business.
Gebru allegedly threatened the woman in February, telling her, “If I don’t get what I want you’ll be sorry and so will your family.” He then allegedly approached a friend in April and asked if he would consider killing the woman in exchange for $10,000. Gebru is also accused of trying to set up a robbery that would target the woman.
Gebru’s friend went to police and has co-operated with the investigation, said Eyrikson.
Gebru’s lawyer told court Tuesday his client plans to fight the charges and claims he’s the one who has actually been victimized. He said it was the female business partner who actually wanted to get rid of Gebru, not the other way around, and the police witness Gebru spoke with is either confused or lying.
The lawyer said Gebru has also had his car smashed and several documents stolen from inside, along with his phone, and believes the woman was involved. The lawyer claimed Gebru has aired his frustrations with his business partner to several parties, including police and MP Joy Smith, to no avail. To date, the missing money has not been found and no charges have been laid.
“This certainly is a convoluted situation,” Judge Chapman said Tuesday. No trial dates have been set.
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