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Thursday 2 October 2014

Anti-sleaze mayor on fraud charges

Published 17/06/2013 | 17:06

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montreal mayor Michael Applebaum has been held on fraud charges (AP)

The mayor of Montreal, who came to power promising to clean up corruption scandals plaguing the city, has been arrested on fraud charges.

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Michael Applebaum faces 14 charges, including defrauding government, abuse of confidence and corruption.

Applebaum took over as interim mayor of Canada's second-largest city last November after former mayor Gerald Tremblay resigned amid corruption allegations.

"The corruption and collusion will no longer be tolerated," Commissioner Robert Lafreniere of Quebec's anti-corruption unit said. "No one is above the law and you cannot hide from the law."

The charges stem from alleged acts that occurred before Applebaum became mayor. While officials offered few details, they said they relate to property projects between 2006 and 2011 when he served as borough mayor.

Applebaum, 50, had promised not to run in the upcoming election, due this November. But his appointment was enough to make history: he became the first Anglophone mayor of the city in exactly 100 years. Signs of trouble arrived soon afterward.

Anti-corruption officials raided Montreal's city hall last February. They also targeted offices in various boroughs, including the one Applebaum represented for many years.

Applebaum's arrest comes just a month after Gilles Vaillancourt, the former long-time mayor of neighbouring Laval, was arrested on corruption charges.

The provincial police allege that the city hall Vaillancourt led was essentially a criminal organisation, with officials there allegedly enriching themselves off local construction deals.

In the neighbouring province of Ontario Toronto mayor Rob Ford, who leads Canada's largest city, is facing unrelated allegations that he appeared in a video smoking crack cocaine.

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