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Normand Ouimet: A biker with a reputation for doing business

A short and stocky man, Normand Marvin (Casper) Ouimet stands 5 feet 5 inches tall, yet weighs in at more than 250 pounds - a Hells Angels biker with a reputation as having a keen if brutal approach to business.

When he started worrying that Paul Sauvé, a business associate in the construction industry, would talk to the police, Mr. Ouimet allegedly issued a stern warning to him: "By the way, if you talk about what happened, we have this motto: Without a body, there won't be a trial,'" Mr. Sauvé recounted in an interview with Radio-Canada last year.

Prosecutors charge that Mr. Ouimet is one of the faces of the infiltration of the construction industry in Quebec by the criminal underworld - and one of the reasons a majority of Quebeckers are calling for a public inquiry to understand the extent of the problem.

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Police say that Mr. Ouimet and his associates brought strong-arm tactics to their attempts to gain a foothold in the construction industry. One of their favourite ploys was to launder their drug profits by using them to pay overtime in cash to their workers on job sites,. Several properties and homes that police say are tied to Mr. Ouimet and are worth more than $9-million have been seized in connection with their investigation.

Instead of investing in legitimate businesses to build up his fortune slowly - as Mafia leaders have been known to do - police say Mr. Ouimet became too greedy and impatient and resorted to intimidation tactics. They say he was known to "flash his patch" - the Hells Angels insignia - as a method of easy intimidation, and often did his own dirty work instead of sending intermediaries.

"He just moved too fast," said one biker cop. "He tried to do in two years what the Mafia did in 20 years."

Julian Sher and Daniel Leblanc

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