MONTREAL - Montreal's auditor general has taken the city to court, alleging that city officials smeared his name.

A publication ban prevents reporting details of the defamation lawsuit.

Jacques Bergeron argues that city officials spied on him and illegally intercepted his email correspondence over several months.

The city argues it received complaints of improper conduct by Bergeron, and that its surveillance was within its power as an employer.

Bergeron and the Tremblay administration have clashed repeatedly since 2009, when Bergeron highlighted problems with the way the city's failed water meter contract was handled.