- Time of issue:2012-10-16
- Time of issue:2012-10-16 00:00
Mr. Zambito said Liberal operative Pierre Bibeau, the then-spouse of environment minister Line Beauchamp, collected $30,000 in cash from Mr. Zambito for a single 2009 breakfast fundraiser. That’s a sum 10 times the allowed annual contribution in the province. Mr. Zambito said he used the encounter to complain environmental assessments were slowing down projects.
Mr. Zambito testified that Mr. Bibeau took the cash at his office at Loto-Québec, the provincial gaming agency where he is a vice-president. Mr. Bibeau “denounced” the allegations against him in a statement issued late Monday. “Inestimable damage has been done to me, along with all those facing an accusatory pointed finger without due process,” he said, adding that he is seeking legal advice about his next step.
Mr. Zambito has testified that such donations were routine in a system of kickbacks, bribes and fixed bids that allowed companies to collude in inflating prices and send money back to elected officials, political parties, bureaucrats and the mob up to 2009.
He described how he enlisted friends, family and company employees to funnel thousands of dollars in donations to the Parti Québécois and the now-defunct Action démocratique du Québec – although the Liberals received by far the greatest portion of the illegal money. Those donations were meant to look legal while thick envelopes of cash were passed to Liberals and officials at Montreal and Laval City Hall with no pretense of legitimacy, he said.
Mr. Zambito said Mr. Vaillancourt, the Laval mayor, took a 2.5-per-cent cut of every construction contract in Laval – the same percentage demanded by Montreal mobsters for projects in their territory.
But Mr. Zambito acknowledged later that he did not have firsthand knowledge of the systematic payments because he only received a few contracts in Laval, where he was required instead to pay flat rates of $25,000 and $150,000.