Corruption inquiry drawing broad strokes
Published Monday, September 17, 2012 7:25AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, September 17, 2012 1:54PM EDT
An inquiry into corruption in Quebec’s construction industry resumed Monday with upcoming testimony expected to focus on collusion and organized crime.
In her opening statement, Superior Court Justice France Charbonneau said the court would hear from experts familiar with how criminal groups infiltrate the construction industry.
“We will also focus on violence and extortion which is present on certain construction worksites,” Charbonneau said Monday.
The first witness called to the stand Monday was Louis Delagrave, the author of an extensive book on Quebec’s construction industry.
Delagrave discussed how the industry operates, but noted he hasn’t researched collusion.
Previous testimony has included provocative allegations that Quebec’s political parties were financed with “dirty money” and the construction industry was involved in kickback schemes.
The accusations brought forward by whistleblower Jacques Duchesneau, the former head of an government anti-corruption unit, were scrutinized during the inquiry’s previous session.
Reports indicate Joseph Pistone, who went undercover in the 1970s to infiltrate the New York Mafia, will be one of the first witnesses to testify at the Charbonneau commission.
It’s unclear why Pistone, whose undercover operation was recounted in the 1997 film “Donnie Brasco” starring Al Pacino, would be chosen to testify at the Charbonneau commission.
The former agent embedded himself with the notorious Bonanno crime family for nearly six years in the 1970s under the alias “Donnie Brasco.” It’s been alleged that the Bonanno family has links to Montreal’s notorious Rizzuto clan, part of the Cosa Nostra crime group.
Crime specialist James Dubro said the inclusion of Dubro would set the stage for a conversation about links between the construction industry and organized crime.
“I think they want to show how the Mafia here is structured and what their modus operandi is; how they operate, how they seduce people, how they corrupt people,” he told CTV News Channel.
Dubro added that Pistone would be able to testify about the mindset of Mafiosos and how they typically get involved in legitimate businesses, usually construction or waste management.
Findings from the Charbonneau commission are anticipated in 2013.
With files from CTV Montreal’s Stephane Giroux and the Canadian Press