Tony Accurso testifies at his fraud trial
Published Thursday, November 9, 2017 3:00PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, November 9, 2017 8:33PM EST
Tony Accurso began testifying Thursday at his trial for fraud and rigging contracts for municipal construction projects.
The former construction magnate is accused of taking part in a criminal scheme masterminded by former Laval mayor Gilles Vaillancourt to rig contracts in exchange for kickbacks.
Accurso denies any involvement, saying he had a limited understanding of how calls for tender worked.
Defence lawyer Marc Labelle said Monday that Accurso was not involved in the day-to-day operations of his companies, Louisbourg Construction and Simard-Beaudry, and instead concentrated on international contracts.
The prosecution claims they were paying 2 per cent kickbacks on each contract the company obtained from the city.
When Accurso was asked if it's true that an engineer gave him $200,000 cash in a suitcase, he insisted the incident reported by a previous witness was not true.
Accurso said kickbacks never happened on his watch because he delegated 100 per cent of his operations to the respective presidents of each company he owned -- Giuseppe 'Joseph' Molluso -- who was a co-accused in this case -- and Frank Minicucci -- who is accused of fraud in another case, were responsible for bribing politicians in exchange for contracts.
He said they're the ones who were responsible for bidding on contracts, adding that they were so independent, they signed their own bonus cheques at the end of the year.
Accurso alleges couldn't even read financial statements, adding that his role was strictly that of a chairman of the board.
He returns to the stand Friday and is the last witness in this trial.
Accurso is the only one of the 37 accused who is on trial for these crimes.
Three of the men accused have died since charges were laid in 2013, and 27 pleaded guilty including Vaillancourt. Seven of the accused men had their cases stayed due to unreasonable delays.