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Charbonneau witness puts dollar figure on illegal donation

Ex-Coalition Avenir Québec MNA Daniel Ratthé speaks at a news conference at the Quebec legislature Tuesday, May 21, 2013.


A witness at Quebec's corruption inquiry has put a five-figure amount to the alleged illegal cash political donation that had a member of the Quebec legislature kicked out of his caucus.

Roger Desbois, a former engineering executive, testified Wednesday that he delivered $30,000 cash to the man who was running Daniel Ratthé's municipal election campaign in the city of Blainville in 2005.

Mr. Ratthé, who was suspended from the provincial Coalition Avenir Québec caucus on Tuesday, was running to replace the incumbent mayor in the town. He lost the election and ended up running provincially for the Parti Québécois in 2008. He switched to the CAQ in 2011 and was re-elected in last summer's general election.

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Mr. Desbois said Mr. Ratthé wasn't present when he gave the money to the outgoing Blainville mayor, Pierre Gingras. Mr. Desbois said he doesn't know what was done with the money.

Mr. Desbois, who testified Tuesday about the collusion ring he ran that kicked back $2.7-million in bribes and illegal political donations in Laval, switched his focus to smaller outlying communities and provincial donations on Wednesday.

Mr. Ratthé said investigators from the Charbonneau inquiry met him Tuesday and warned him his name was about to come up in testimony. Mr. Ratthé said the news "came as a shock." He firmly denied knowing about any money.

CAQ Leader François Legault said he has "no tolerance" for any suggestion of wrongdoing from within his party.

Several former members of the National Assembly have been stung by allegations that they or their staffers took bribes or inappropriate gifts from construction companies. This is the first allegation to touch on a current sitting member.

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About the Author
National correspondent

Les Perreaux joined the Montreal bureau of the Globe and Mail in 2008. He previously worked for the Canadian Press covering national and international affairs, including federal and Quebec politics and the war in Afghanistan. More

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