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Archived — UPAC and the Competition Bureau of Canada lay 77 charges against 11 individuals and 9 companies

Montreal, June 21, 2012 — In a press conference this morning, Robert Lafrenière, Director of the Unité permanente anticorruption (UPAC) of the Sûreté du Québec; Chief Inspector François Roux, Director of Information and Criminal Investigations for the Sûreté du Québec; and Donald Plouffe, Assistant Deputy Commissioner for the Competition Bureau of Canada, released the details of an operation that has resulted in a total of 77 charges laid against 11 individuals and 9 companies in the construction industry, in connection with a collusion scheme in the Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu region.

Today's arrests, which included two municipal officials, are the result of a joint investigation by the Sûreté du Québec's Corruption Investigations Unit, part of the UPAC taskforce, and the Competition Bureau of Canada.

"Collusion and bid-rigging are insidious phenomena that hurt healthy competition, as they favour a small number of contractors to the detriment of new players in awarding public contracts. I applaud the extensive operations carried out simultaneously by the investigators of the Corruption Investigations Unit and the Competition Bureau of Canada, which have led to today's arrests," said the Director of the Unité permanente anticorruption of the Sûreté du Québec.

The investigation, which ran for just over two years, uncovered evidence of a sophisticated collusion scheme giving preferential treatment to a group of contractors in order to obtain municipal contracts, mainly for infrastructure projects in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and surrounding areas.

Individuals arrested:

  1. Patrick Alain
  2. Jules-César Badra
  3. François Bernard
  4. Pasquale Fedele
  5. Thierry Garcia
  6. Louis-Philippe Lacroix
  7. Jean-Jacques Laplante
  8. Jacques Lavoie
  9. Gaétan Paradis
  10. Bernard Proulx
  11. Jacques Vallières

Companies charged:

  1. Carrière Bernier Ltée
  2. Cie Wilfrid Allen Ltée
  3. CIV-BEC Inc.
  4. Construction Benvas Inc.
  5. Construction G.C.P. Inc.
  6. Groupe Dubé & Associés Inc.
  7. Opron Inc.
  8. P. Baillargeon Ltée
  9. Verdi construction Ltée

"This investigation revealed that a scheme of collusion, breach of trust and corruption has been operating since 2007, involving infrastructure projects for the City of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and a number of neighbouring cities. The direct impact of that scheme was a significant increase in costs for the affected cities and the elimination of competition," said Chief Inspector François Roux, the Director of Information and Criminal Investigations for the Sûreté du Québec.

Criminal charges laid by the Bureau de lutte à la corruption et à la malversation (BLCM) of the Directeur des poursuites criminelles et pénales (DPCP), include charges of corruption in municipal affairs, breach of trust, influencing a municipal official, fraud upon the government, production and use of counterfeit documents, accepting reward, advance or benefit, misrepresentation or false statement, extortion, and conspiracy. Bid-rigging charges were also laid under the federal Competition Act.

"Bid-rigging is a serious criminal offence that hurts everyone but the perpetrators who cheat the system. Today's announcement demonstrates the value of partnerships among enforcement agencies, such as this one, in pursuing offenders," said Melanie Aitken, Commissioner of Competition.

The Unité permanente anticorruption was set up by the Government of Quebec in February 2011. Its mandate is to coordinate and lead units for investigation, audit and prevention to fight corruption in the Quebec public system.

Information (UPAC)
Anne-Frédérick Laurence
Media Relations Officer
Unité permanente anticorruption
514-228-3098, ext. 12345

Information (Competition Bureau)
Media Relations

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