Montreal's first Jewish mayor, Michael Applebaum, and Jewish city staffer and former city councilman Saulie Zajdel have been arrested by the province's anti-corruption squad. Applebaum faces 14 charges related to two real estate projects between 2006 and 2011.
CTV News reports:
Montreal's Mayor Michael Applebaum has been arrested by the province's anti-corruption squad and faces 14 charges related to two real estate projects between 2006 and 2011.
The charges include fraud, breach of trust, conspiracy, collusion and corruption in municipal affairs, investigators from the Unite permanente anticorruption, or UPAC, said at a press conference Monday morning.
"These were bribes that influenced a decision, approvals or permit distribution," said UPAC commissioner Robert Lafreniere, speaking in French.
Police say the transactions being investigated were worth "several hundreds of thousands of dollars."
Applebaum was arrested at his home in Notre-Dame-de-Grace (NDG) at approximately 6 a.m. Monday.
Two others were also arrested in NDG:
- Saulie Zajdel, who worked in a ministerial office for the federal Tories on ethnic outreach, was charged with breach of trust, fraud and corruption.
- Jean Yves Bisson, a former director of permits who worked in Applebaum's west end borough.
"The message is clear: all actions which compromise the integrity of the state are unacceptable," Lafreniere said, appearing alongside UPAC squad captain Andre Boulanger.
The officers said 20 officers have taken part in the investigation, and it's possible more people will be arrested in the coming days.
Seven months ago, after campaigning on a promise to clean up city hall, Applebaum was elected interim mayor of Montreal.
Applebaum, who is Montreal's first Anglophone mayor in 100 years, has already said he will not run in the upcoming municipal election set for November.
Montreal city hall was raided by UPAC investigators last February, in a sweep that also targeted municipal offices in various boroughs of the city -- including the one Applebaum represented as a councillor for many years.
Now, many of Applebaum's former allies are calling for his immediate resignation.
Gilles Vaillancourt, the former longtime mayor of nearby Laval, was arrested in a sweep last month and charged with fraud and gangsterism.