Former Quebec lieutenant-governor Lise Thibault will face criminal charges in connection with her expense accounts.
The charges were authorized Friday by Quebec Court Judge Pierre Verdon in Quebec City.
Thibault is expected to appear in court Oct. 27 to face charges including fraud, breach of trust, submitting a false document and counterfeiting a document.
A joint investigation by Quebec provincial police and the RCMP was launched after an analysis of Thibault's spending by the auditors general of Quebec and Canada showed she spent at least $700,000 without justification during her 10 years as the Queen's representative in the province.
The judge authorized the charges, following an extraordinary preliminary inquiry process — during which the Crown presented its evidence in an in-camera hearing.
Without proper receipts
In a joint report issued in June 2007, the auditors general concluded Thibault spent some $343,000 on various expenses without proper receipts or documentation.
The $343,000 includes:
- $40,000 on bodyguard services for days with no official events or activities.
- $45,000 on gifts with no specific reason for unidentified people.
- $4,600 on ski trips to Mont-Tremblant.
- $44,000 on tips left by Thibault's bodyguards at a Tremblant hotel.
- $4,000 on a birthday party for a member of Thibault's family.
- $2,800 on two private restaurant dinners.
- $3,700 on a private fishing trip in the Gaspé.
- $2,300 on a private trip to Ontario.
- $1,600 on a trip to New Brunswick to attend a golf tournament.
Thibault defended actions
In October 2008, Thibault was ordered to appear before a legislative committee probing her expenses.
She claimed she is the victim of a "mean" and "disgraceful" smear campaign.
She said her lavish spending — including a $10,000 cocktail party for her aides after a training day — was justified because they were volunteers.
Thibault also charged golf lessons, vacations, and family gifts as business expenses. She told the committee she thought it was appropriate to include those costs as part of her job.
She said she did her job properly and honestly and she blamed her problems on scandal-hungry media.
Quebec has introduced stricter guidelines to control expenses in the lieutenant-governor's office.
Thibault was replaced by Pierre Duchesne in 2007 in an appointment made by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
During his swearing-in cermony, Duchesne promised he would be guided by "a sense of duty, sharing and sobriety."