Frank Zampino among 8 arrested in alleged municipal contract scheme

Quebec's anti-corruption unit (UPAC) has arrested Frank Zampino, the former second-in-command at Montreal City Hall, on fraud-related charges.

Bernard Trépanier, former Union Montréal fundraiser, also targeted by anti-corruption squad warrants

Frank Zampino served as mayor of Saint-Leonard and was second-in-command to former Montreal mayor Gérald Tremblay. UPAC issued a warrant for his arrest Tuesday. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

Quebec's anti-corruption unit (UPAC) has arrested Frank Zampino, the former second-in-command at Montreal City Hall, for his alleged role in a municipal contract scheme.

Zampino was targeted Tuesday along with seven others as part of an ongoing investigation titledProjet Fronde.

The new charges appear to be tied to the awarding of municipal contracts, the majority of them in engineering, awarded between 2001 and 2009 with a total value of $160 million.

Bernard Trépanier, former chief fundraiser for Union Montréal, the political party Zampino belonged to, was also arrested.

He earned the nickname "Mr. Three per cent" at the Charbonneau Commission in reference to the three-per-cent fee he allegedly charged companies he helped win construction contracts. 

Others who were targeted by arrest warrants are:

  • Robert Marcil, the former head of infrastructure for the city.
  • Kazimierz Olechnowicz, former president and director-general of engineering firm CIMA+.
  • Yves Théberge, a former engineer at CIMA+.
  • Bernard Poulin, president of the engineering firm SM.
  • Dany Moreau, vice president of SM.
  • Normand Brousseau, who was working at the time for engineering firm HBA Technika.​

Poulin was the last to be arrested Tuesday afternoon, after an arrest warrant remained in effect for him while the other seven men were taken into custody earlier in the day.

The eight men are facing some combination of fraud, abuse of confidence, conspiracy to commit fraud and municipal corruption charges.

Seven men, with the exception of Bernard Poulin, were arrested this morning in connection to a municipal contract sharing scheme. (Radio-Canada)

The investigation, which began in 2014, is attempting to prove that a network of engineering firms, civil servants and one politician created a system whereby they shared contracts in exchange for political contributions, according to a news release.

They should be released today with a promise to appear Nov. 8, said UPAC spokesperson Anne-Frédérick Laurence.

Zampino is already on trial for fraud and conspiracy in connection with the Faubourg Contrecoeur housing development deal.

During Charbonneau Commission testimony, seven of the men, with the exception of Olechnowicz, were alleged to have participated in a similar contract-sharing system.

With files from Steve Rukavina and Radio-Canada