Massive police raids at Montreal city hall

Interim mayor Michael Applebaum speaks outside of Montreal city hall after a series of raids were...

Interim mayor Michael Applebaum speaks outside of Montreal city hall after a series of raids were conducted on February 19, 2013. (MAXIME DELAND/QMI Agency)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:45 AM ET

MONTREAL — Montreal's current and former mayors were among 25 political figures met by police amid massive raids at City Hall.

A total of 125 police officers seized documents in several locations Tuesday, though no one was arrested.

QMI Agency has learned that Quebec's anti-corruption unit is seeking documents related to alleged illegal campaign financing in deposed mayor Gerald Tremblay's Union Montreal party.

Paperwork was allegedly trumped up and kickbacks paid to the party, say sources.

The seized documents cover the years 2005 to 2009, a period when Mafia-linked construction firms allegedly conspired with paid-off bureaucrats to inflate public contracts.

Surveillance footage screened at the Charbonneau commission showed a dozen construction entrepreneurs divvying up cash with mob patriarch Nick Rizzuto.

A former political organizer testified that Union Montreal was so awash in cash that officials had to buy a bigger safe at party headquarters.

The latest police raids began late Monday afternoon and continued into the night.

Investigators confiscated hard drives at Montreal's computer-services centre, which is itself at the centre of inflated contract allegations.

Interim mayor Michael Applebaum was among those met by police.

Applebaum, a former member of Tremblay's party who quit late last year, denied any wrongdoing in an interview with QMI on Tuesday.

"I am beyond reproach in the financing of my election campaign," said Applebaum, who has distanced himself from his ex-colleagues in recent months.

Main opposition leader Louise Harel called the raids "a tsunami", and the leader of Montreal's third party, Richard Bergeron, suggested investigators arrived too late.

"The shredder no doubt had time to do a big job, but police think they can still find things," he said.


Videos

Photos