Montreal Mayor resigns amid fresh fraud allegations

By Helen Wright24 June 2013

After taking office at the end of last year promising to end corruption, Michael Applebaum, the Mayor of the Canadian city of Montreal, has resigned following his arrest on 14 fraud charges.

Mr Applebaum said the accusations against him, which relate to real estate projects in Montreal during his time as a borough mayor between 2006 and 2011, were unfounded. The charges include defrauding the government, breach of trust and conspiracy.

Mr Applebaum replaced former Montreal Mayor Gerard Tremblay, who resigned in November last year amid separate allegations related to illegal donations.

And Mr Applebaum and Mr Tremblay are not the first former Mayors to face corruption charges in recent months. In May, Gilles Vaillancourt, the former mayor of Laval in Quebec, Canada, was one of 37 people arrested over charges of construction-linked fraud and ties to organised crime.

The resignations and arrests come amid an on-going and high-profile public inquiry into the corruption in construction industry in Quebec. – the Charbonneau Inquiry.

The inquiry has already heard testimony from politicians and senior figures from the construction industry detailing mafia kick-backs and a web of corruption involving the public procurement of construction contracts.

The Charbonneu inquiry is currently focussing on the awarding of municipal contracts, but will turn its attention to provincial government contracts at a later date.

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