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E-mail for Quebec corruption inquiry reportedly hacked

QuebecLeaks co-founder Luc Lefebvre shows off the new website lauched Wednesday, March 9, 2011 in Montreal. QuebecLeaks is a website modeled after WikiLeaks.

Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press/Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press

The tipster e-mail link for the Quebec government's anti-corruption inquiry has been shut down after it was reportedly hacked.

Seven e-mails – one of which claimed the bribing of a Montreal city employee by a construction company – were allegedly given to the QuebecLeaks website by hackers who said they were testing the site for security flaws.

Other e-mails, described by the website, supposedly discussed illicit cash transfers and a debit card that was offered to an official.

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All the people mentioned in the e-mails were reportedly able to be identified. The commission was told Monday that its e-mails had been given to other people.

A spokesman for the anti-corruption commission headed by Justice France Charbonneau said Wednesday that security is being reviewed and tightened.

But spokesman Richard Bourdon also expressed doubts about the reports of the leak, saying the e-mail was deactivated hours after it was set up last week.

He questioned whether the e-mails were actually sent to the commission and speculated that this might be an attempt to discredit it.

A Montreal newspaper, Le Devoir, reports hackers intercepted e-mails addressed to the commission, raising fears for the privacy of the information being submitted.

Public Security Minister Robert Dutil says Judge Charbonneau has to take responsibility for the security of the site.

"Madame Charbonneau is independent and she has to assure the commission is functioning well; she has to keep an eye on things," Mr. Dutil said.

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He added he didn't know if the commission's website was secure or not and wouldn't speculate on the possibility of an investigation.

The commission is accepting tips by telephone only, until further notice.

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