Former Canadian mayor charged with corruption

By Helen Wright14 May 2013

Gilles Vaillancourt, the former mayor of Laval in Quebec, Canada, is one of 37 people arrested over charges of construction-linked fraud and ties to organised crime.

Mr Vaillancourt, who served as mayor of Laval for 23 years before resigning in November last year after the corruption allegations came to light, faces two charges of gangsterism, including claims of directing a criminal organisation.

Also among the 37 arrested are other politicians and political aides, lawyers and people with ties to the construction industry. The arrests came after a three-year police investigation into corruption and collusion on public contracts.

Mr Vaillancourt, who has asserted his innocence, must re-appear in court on 10 July.

Mr Vaillancourt’s name has also been repeatedly mentioned at the on-going Charbonneau Inquiry – an inquiry into corruption in the construction industry in Québec that was set up by the Charbonneau Commission in response to concerns about public procurement.

Indeed, Lino Zambito, former vice president of Infrabec Construction, admitted to the inquiry in September last year that his company had colluded with other contractors for years to rig bids for public works contracts at inflated prices, and also paid security money to the Mafia in Québec.

In his testimony, he claimed Mr Vaillancourt took a 2.5% cut from all construction contracts handed out in Laval.

The Charbonneau Inquiry will focus on Laval later this year, but officials in the city are already preparing for the worst.

Laval’s interim mayor, Alexandre Duplessis, said he would seek approval to suspend city manager Gaétan Turbide, the municipality’s highest-ranking employee, and assistant city manager Jean Roberge ahead of their testimony.

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