Corruption suspects donated $261Gs to Quebec political parties
Richard Marcotte. (PIERRE-PAUL POULIN/QMI Agency)
MONTREAL - Twenty suspects arrested in recent anti-corruption raids have been generous with their contributions to Quebec provincial political parties.
Data compiled by QMI Agency show that fraud-linked businessmen, politicians and party fundraisers donated $261,505 to the three main parties between 2001 and last year.
Most of the money went to the Liberals, but the 20 suspects donated cash to the separatist Parti Quebecois as well as the ADQ, predecessor to the centre-right CAQ party formed this year by Francois Legault.
The biggest donor among the suspects was construction magnate Paolo Catania, arrested in May in an alleged real estate scam. Catania donated nearly $41,000 to the three parties in the past ten years, including $27,800 to the Liberals.
Also on the list was Richard Marcotte, long-time mayor of the Montreal bedroom community of Mascouche, who was nabbed in an alleged kickback scheme in April.
Marcotte has donated $2,600 to the Liberals since 2001.
The data is a black mark on Quebec's political class, says Concordia University political scientist Guy Lachapelle.
"These contributions undermine political parties," he told QMI Agency. "All leaders know that this isn't good for the credibility of the democratic system. Politicians are seen as corrupt people."
One prominent figure whose name was missing from the donation rolls was Tony Accurso, perhaps the most powerful man in Quebec construction with about $1 billion in public contracts since 1990.
Accurso was arrested twice this year - once in the alleged kickback scheme involving Richard Marcotte and once for tax evasion.
Accurso's daughter Lisa Accurso, who runs some of the family firms, donated $3,000 to the Liberals in 2008.