Former Quebec police officer 'devastated' by criminal probe
Retired director of investigations Steven Chabot denies any wrongdoing
One of three high-ranking Quebec provincial police officers under investigation for alleged misuse of public funds says he learned about the probe through media reports.
Steven Chabot, the former director of investigations for the Sûreté du Québec, says he has done nothing wrong and is upset that details of the investigation were made public this week before any charges were laid.
"I was an investigator for 30 years. I've never seen an allegation go public like this before an investigation is complete. It's a weird way of doing business," he said in an interview with CBC News.
The investigation was launched after a routine check of the books, conducted when Mario Laprise took command of the provincial police, turned up money that wasn't accounted for.
Laprise, who was appointed to the post in October, alerted Public Security Minister Stéphane Bergeron.
Chabot retired from the service in 2010, but former SQ director Richard Deschênes and assistant director Jean Audette were put on paid leave as the investigation proceeds.
Deschênes was removed from the director post earlier in the fall, but had been reassigned before being placed on leave.
According to Bergeron, the money in question was in a fund set up to discreetly pay police informants or cover the cost of drugs in undercover operations.
He alleged that a high-ranking officer authorized the use of money from that fund to pay someone's retirement bonus. Bergeron would not name the individual who benefited from that bonus.
Chabot would not address the allegations specifically Thursday and said he's still not fully aware of what he's being investigated for.
He called the public security minister's office yesterday, but said he wasn't given any details.
An emotional Chabot said he plans to hire a lawyer and vigorously defend himself. He said the allegations have been difficult for him personally.
"What can you say? I've got a life, I've got a family … I'm devastated."