Tony Accurso's home among UPAC raid targets
90 UPAC officers carry out multiple search warrants in Quebec
Investigators with the province's anti-corruption unit (UPAC) searched the homes of former city administrators and ex-construction magnate Tony Accurso during raids involving 90 police officers and several search warrants.
The Saint-Léonard home of Frank Zampino, the former head of Montreal's executive committee, was among the locations searched as was the home of Robert Abdallah, the city's former director general, and Accurso, the former head of Simard-Beaudry Construction.
UPAC would not confirm the exact locations of where the search warrants were executed.
Accurso, whose companies have been under the gun at Quebec's corruption inquiry, quit the construction industry in 2012 after he was charged in connection with a multimillion-dollar tax-evasion conspiracy. Those charges have not been proven in court.
Accurso's name has also come up several times in testimony before the Charbonneau commission and he is currently fighting a subpoena compelling him to testify at the inquiry because of the ongoing criminal proceedings.
He took that fight all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada and a judgment is expected to be rendered tomorrow.
Zampino, who testified before the commission in 2013, was second- in-command at city hall behind former mayor Gérald Tremblay, before he quit politics in 2008.
He was arrested in 2012 and charged with fraud, conspiracy and breach of trust.
Police believe Zampino fixed the bidding process to favour Construction Frank Catania & Associates Inc. for the Faubourg Contrecoeur housing development project.
Zampino has denied those allegations and none of the charges has been proven in court.
Abdallah's home also targeted
Earlier on Wednesday, police searched the Pierrefonds home of Robert Abdallah, Montreal's former director general.
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No one was at the house when police arrived on the property, but Abdallah's son, Carl, stopped by later in the morning.
He said his parents are away on vacation, and his father asked him to check on the home after he heard about the search.
"They’re just searching through for information. They’re going to do their job, and everything’s going to go well," he told reporters.
"I have absolutely no worries."
Abdallah, who was Montreal's director general from 2003 to 2006, has been accused of accepting money in a city contract kick-back scheme.
Former construction boss Lino Zambito testified at the Charbonneau commission in 2012 that Abdallah, when he was the top civil servant in the city, instructed him through a middleman to use pipes from a particular firm while working on a major sewer contract.
The materials were $300,000 more expensive — but Zambito said he was assured by a city engineer acting as a middleman that he would be compensated and informed that that amount would go to Abdallah as part of the deal.
Members of the board of the Port of Montreal have said that they were pushed to appoint Abdallah by Harper's former communications director, Dimitri Soudas. Abdallah was not appointed in the end, and after leaving city hall, he went on to work in the construction industry.
The allegations against Adballah at the Charbonneau commission have not been proven in court and he has denied them in media interviews.