Montreal mayor arrested by anti-corruption squad-reports

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 17, 2013 9:11 AM
Montreal mayor arrested by anti-corruption squad-reports

TORONTO (Reuters) - Montreal's new mayor, who pledged to stamp out corruption at City Hall when he took office late last year, was arrested by Quebec's anti-corruption police squad on Monday, numerous Canadian media outlets said.

Michael Applebaum, the French-speaking city's first anglophone mayor in more than a century, was arrested at his home early Monday morning by the Unite permanente anticorruption (UPAC), a police spokeswoman told the La Presse newspaper and other media outlets.

The charges against Applebaum were not immediately known, and police did not immediately return calls from Reuters. They are due to hold a news conference at 10 a.m. local time (1400 GMT).

The arrest is the latest in a string of scandals surrounding Canadian municipal politics.

Montreal's previous mayor, Gérald Tremblay, stepped down in November amid allegations he turned a blind eye to corruption and illegal spending by his political party. He denies wrongdoing.

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has been in the headlines after two media outlets said they viewed a video that appeared to show him smoking crack cocaine. Ford says he does not use crack cocaine, and Reuters has not been able to verify the existence of the video.

In Quebec, Canada's largest province by area and home to big companies like plane and trainmaker Bombardier Inc, politicians at both the municipal and provincial level have been implicated in two years during a public inquiry over allegations of municipal contract rigging, kickbacks to politicians and illegal financing of elections.

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Gilles Vaillancourt, the mayor of the Montreal suburb of Laval, stepped down in 2012 but denied allegations of corruption. Vaillancourt was arrested last month and charged with gangsterism, fraud and corruption.

Laval has since been placed under trusteeship as it grapples with allegations of decades of corruption in local government.

(Reporting by Julie Gordon; Editing by Janet Guttsman and Jeffrey Benkoe)