Montreal

Tony Accurso testifies he was helping friend with $300K loan through Swiss account

Former construction magnate Tony Accurso took the stand Monday in a Joliette courtroom, where he is on trial on a charge of breach of trust for allegedly giving money to win contracts in Mascouche, Que.

Former construction magnate denied he gave money to win municipal contracts in Mascouche, Que.

Former construction magnate Tony Accurso's trial started Jan. 15 and is expected to last 4 to 6 weeks. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

Former construction magnate Tony Accurso took the stand Monday in a Joliette, Que., courtroom, where he is on trial on a charge of breach of trust.

A second charge of trying to influence a municipal official was dropped on Jan. 24 without explanation.

Quebec Superior Court Justice James Brunton and the jury heard Monday that Accurso wrote a $300,000 cheque to the late mayor of Mascouche, Richard Marcotte, which made its way into Marcotte's hands through a company in Panama and a Swiss bank account.

Accurso testified he and Marcotte were old friends, and the money was a loan so Marcotte could pursue a real estate opportunity. 

The court also heard that Accurso brought Marcotte on his yacht.

When asked if this was done to gain the mayor's favour, Accurso replied, "No."

He was also asked if he gave money to win contracts, again replying, "No."

Accurso's trial began Jan. 15 in the Joliette courthouse and is expected to last four to six weeks.

With files from Lauren McCallum