Police to probe corruption claims made by union against Quebec Liberals
QUEBEC - The Crown prosecutor's office in Quebec called Tuesday for a criminal inquiry into corruption allegations made by the head of Montreal's police union against the Quebec Liberal party.
Union head Yves Francoeur claimed last Thursday on a Montreal radio station that the Crown cut short a fraud investigation into one former and one sitting Liberal party member of the legislature due to political interference.
He alleged the Crown was ready to press charges but was blocked by someone high up in the government.
Francoeur said the investigation included wiretap and surveillance, but he did not reveal any names.
Annick Murphy, director of the Crown prosecutor's office, said she formally asked the deputy minister of the Public Security Department to investigate Francoeur's claims.
Quebec provincial police will head the investigation, with help from Quebec City and Montreal police.
"The allegations are serious and we have to shed light on this affair," said Crown spokesman, Jean-Pascal Boucher.
Murphy said Francoeur hadn't spoken with her office or the province's anti-corruption unit since he dropped the bombshell accusations five days ago.
Francoeur said he had contacted anti-corruption investigators and will meet with them.
In a brief statement, Francoeur said he stood by what he said in the radio interview.
Murphy said she hadn't come across any file in her office related to Francoeur's allegations.
The government was also forced to address reports Tuesday that Francoeur had been approached in January to run for the Liberal party.
Sylain Langis, the party's chief organizer, vigorously denied anyone in a position to do so made an offer to Francoeur regarding the riding of Marguerite-Bourgeoys.
Francoeur said he was approached by the party earlier this year and "on the spot, strongly and unequivocally rejected the offer of the Liberal Party of Quebec."
The Montreal riding is currently held by former Liberal transport minister Robert Poeti, also a former police officer.