Vision Montreal's finances under investigation
Elections Quebec inspecting donations from 2009, when Benoît Labonté was leader
Elections Quebec has contacted several people who donated to Vision Montreal in 2009 as part of a relaunched investigation into the municipal opposition party's financing, Radio-Canada has learned.
One donor, who spoke to CBC's French-language service on condition of anonymity, said they met an investigator last week. "The questions were about donations made at different fundraising cocktail parties," the person said.
Another donor was approached by an investigator earlier this week.
The news follows Lino Zambito's testimony at Quebec's corruption inquiry, at which the former construction boss affirmed he made a large cash donation to Vision Montreal's former leader, Benoît Labonté.
"During the 2009 election campaign, I gave — I met the Vision Montreal candidate, Benoît Labonté, and I gave an amount of $25,000 or $30,000 in cash to Mr. Labonté for his 2009 campaign," Zambito testified on Oct. 15.
"A meeting was organized where I met Mr. Labonté, and he said that if I was ready to give him a hand for his campaign in 2009, then he, eventually, he was the candidate for Vision Montreal."
Such a donation would have been illegal under provincial law because Zambito wasn't a Montreal resident.
Party says it's co-operating
Vision Montreal confirmed it's received a request from the provincial elections authority for information about its 2009 finances. Elections Quebec wanted to "verify contributions, cheques, to see how people donated and whether the donations were proper," said Soraya Martinez, chief of staff for Vision Montreal Leader Louise Harel.
Sources told Radio-Canada that the party has turned over a list of 15 names to Elections Quebec investigators.
The party said it could not confirm whether the investigation is related to Zambito's testimony.
Harel replaced Labonté as Vision Montreal leader in June 2009, and he quit the party the following October, in the middle of the municipal election campaign. He was forced to resign over allegations he met and accepted donations from controversial construction entrepreneur Tony Accurso, who's since been charged with 12 criminal counts of fraud, forgery, conspiracy, influence-peddling and other charges.