Anti-corruption raids at McGill health centre

Members of Quebec's anti-corruption unit were conducting searches and interrogations on the...

Members of Quebec's anti-corruption unit were conducting searches and interrogations on the premises of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC), located at 2155 rue Guy, Montreal, Sept. 18, 2012. (Sylvain Denis/QMI Agency)

Brian Daly, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:22 PM ET

MONTREAL - Quebec's anti-corruption unit carried out raids Tuesday at the offices of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) in the second major scandal to hit the project since last year.

Officers seized computers and conducted interrogations at the downtown administrative offices of McGill's $2.3-billion hospital complex.

The sprawling hospital, which will be the largest in Canada, is currently under construction at a separate site in the city's west end.

A MUHC spokesman said the corruption squad was "requesting information related to the awarding of the contract for the... public-private partnership."

The superhospital consortium includes a company owned by embattled construction magnate Tony Accurso, who was arrested twice this year in fraud and tax-evasion cases.

One of Accurso's biggest holdings, Simard-Beaudry, continues to work on the MUHC complex even though the firm was one of two Accurso companies cited in 2010 for $4.1 million in federal tax fraud.

The RCMP arrested Accurso and three other people last month in a second alleged multimillion-dollar tax evasion scheme.

Mounties say investigators found a document called "Plan of Action," that allegedly details a fraud ring that sought to bilk the federal government of $3 million in tax dollars from companies owned by Accurso and another businessman, Francesco Bruno.

Accurso was previously arrested in mid-April for an alleged kickback scheme along with 14 other people, including the mayor of a small community north of Montreal and a former Quebec Liberal Party fundraiser. The businessman was charged with corruption and fraud in that case.

The native of Laval, north of Montreal, previously made headlines in 2009 after several Quebec politicians were found to have vacationed on his 120-foot luxury yacht.

The MUHC complex will group together the city's main English hospitals upon its scheduled completion in 2015, but it will do so under new leadership.

Former MUHC CEO Dr. Arthur Porter quit in June 2011 amid questions about a failed land deal and a controversial job offer he made to a senator who was also his boss.

brian.daly@sunmedia.ca


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