MONTREAL - Facing allegations that the Bloc Quebecois used public money to pay the salaries of party officials, former leader Gilles Duceppe has ruled out any return to politics.

"La Presse published a report on Saturday putting my integrity and reputation in doubt," said Duceppe in a statement released on Sunday afternoon. "From now on I will devote myself entirely to defending my integrity and reestablishing my reputation."

Endorsing Pauline Marois' leadership of the Parti Québécois in his statement, the retreat could put an end to longstanding rumours that Duceppe was eyeing a run for the leadership of the PQ.

In the allegations put forward by La Presse, the Bloc is said to have paid the salary of party general manager Gilbert Gardner for seven years, starting in 2004, using taxpayer dollars. The newspaper also alleged that Marie-France Charbonneau, the wife of a party official, was hired as an advisor and paid using the same funds.

Under parliamentary rules, the money was reserved for nonpartisan purposes and government functions. The Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs could investigate the situation.

Speaking on Friday, Duceppe denied any wrongdoing by the party while he was leader. Duceppe resigned as party leader after a disastrous showing by the Bloc in the May 2011 election.