Montreal

Jean Charest denies illegal party financing, links to SNC-Lavalin

Former Quebec premier Jean Charest is denying a report linking him to a political fundraising scheme with engineering giant SNC-Lavalin in the year before he took office.

Former Quebec premier responds to report by Radio-Canada investigative journalist Alain Gravel

File photo: Jean Charest denies Radio-Canada investigative reporter Alain Gravel's report looking at illegal party financing and possible links to engineering firm under fire, SNC-Lavalin. (Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press)

Former Quebec premier Jean Charest is denying a report linking him to a political fundraising scheme with engineering giant SNC-Lavalin in the year before he took office.

Charest, who was premier from 2003 to 2012, says he has never participated in any illegal party financing activity.

Charest made the comments in a statement following a Radio-Canada report Friday that said Quebec's anti-corruption police unit is looking into whether he was involved in a financing operation with SNC-Lavalin in 2002.

According to Radio-Canada, Charest and a Quebec Liberal Party fundraiser approached SNC-Lavalin's chairman as part of an effort to raise $50,000 from the firm's employees.

Radio-Canada says it wasn't able to determine whether the Liberals ever got the money. SNC-Lavalin denies any wrongdoing.

Charest says the report reconstructs events of 12 years ago in a "tendentious" manner.

The Quebec Liberals were among several political parties to have been accused of illegal financing during testimony at the province's Charbonneau inquiry into corruption.

Read Radio-Canada's story (in French) here.

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