Three Quebec businessmen are adding to the mounting allegations of wrongdoing by a former official at FTQ-Construction, the construction wing of the Quebec Federation of Labour, the province's biggest union.
The men said they were asked to pay bribes when they wanted to do business with the Solidarity Fund QFL, the union's development capital fund.
The allegations are being investigated by Quebec provincial police, CBC/Radio-Canada has learned.
The bribes were requested by intermediaries with ties to organized crime in connection to projects presented to the fund by former FTQ-Construction director Jocelyn Dupuis and former president Jean Lavallée, the businessmen allege.
In April, Dupuis turned himself in to Canadian border officials after a warrant was issued for his arrest on charges of fraud in connection with exorbitant expenses he had claimed from the union.
Loan seekers asked to pay 'commission'
In 2004, Sylvain Boivin, president of Cable International Syl, said he was looking for a $5-million loan from the fund to develop a cable distribution company in French Guyana.
At that point, Boivin claims he was asked for a bribe from Ronald Beaulieu, an acquaintance of Dupuis and Lavallée, who also has ties to the Hells Angels, and was arrested for loan sharking later that same year.
"He told me to get $5 million, it would be $500,000 commission," Boivin told CBC/Radio-Canada.
"He said, I work with the Solidarity Fund, there is no problem. I could easily have it." Boivin said Beaulieu introduced him to Lavallée and Dupuis, who promised to approve the loan without much consideration.
The project eventually fell apart and Boivin said he did not pay the bribe.
The owners of a Métro grocery store in Laval told CBC/Radio-Canada that they paid Dupuis a $200,000 bribe for the opportunity to buy land belonging to Montmorency-Laval Ltd., a company belonging to the Solidarity Fund and Montreal businessman Tony Accurso.
"That's it, that's all. It is that or you get nothing," Michel Dépatie alleges he was told.
"I am a businessman and to ensure the survival of my company — I wanted that land," he said.
Métro owners say they paid bribe
It was Dupuis who requested the bribe, though Bealieu also took part in the discussion, Dépatie said.
"What they told me at that time was everything goes through Mr. Dupuis, every transaction," he said.
The lawyer representing Accurso told CBC/Radio-Canada that his client had never heard of commissions being paid. Dupuis and Lavallée did not return calls for comment.
The Solidarity Fund QFL said its officials who analyze requests for funding had never heard of any requests for bribes. The organization said Lavallée has not been a member on any of its committees for 15 months and Dupuis was never a member. Officials with the organization said they tightened up governance rules last year.