October 17, 2012
Loto-Quebec exec reassigned amid dirty-cash allegations
By QMI Agency
MONTREAL — A Loto-Quebec vice-president who's also a top provincial Liberal organizer has been reassigned amid allegations he funnelled dirty cash to the party.
The gambling agency said Wednesday that corporate and public affairs vice-president Pierre Bibeau has been "temporarily reassigned to other duties" while an inquiry into corruption in Quebec continues its work.
Ex-paving contractor Lino Zambito claimed Monday to have handed Bibeau $30,000 in cash at a 2009 fundraiser for Bibeau's then-wife Line Beauchamp, who was education minister at the time.
In a statement, Loto-Quebec says Bibeau vehemently denies the allegations and it mentions the "presumption of innocence."
But the agency added that his role as a spokesman "affects the public image of the company and external relations."
Zambito said Monday that he visited Loto-Quebec headquarters in Montreal in April 2009 and handed the cash payment directly to Bibeau.
Zambito said he also paid the Liberals $2,000 at two other cocktail parties in exchange for kickbacks in the form of inflated contracts.
Beauchamp is the second former Liberal cabinet minister Zambito has named at the inquiry.
Last week he said former deputy premier Nathalie Normandeau benefited from illegal contributions from contractors who used aliases and false invoicing.
"I was not an angel," Zambito told the commission. "I rigged bids, I financed political parties, I bribed officials. But the system was set up in such a way that I had no choice."
He explained that anyone who refused to go along with the fraud wouldn't get contracts.
The commission has heard that Zambito and his family members used fake names and bogus bills to funnel tens of thousands of dollars to political parties in Quebec.