The lawyer for Nathalie Normandeau said her client is shocked and saddened by her arrest, and plans to plead not guilty to the charges.

Quebec's former deputy-premier is facing charges of conspiracy, bribery of a public servant, and fraud against the government.

She was one of seven people arrested Thursday in a fraud case.

Premier Philippe Couillard continued on Friday to distance himself from his former co-cabinet minister, although he is being cautious.

There are eight current ministers who served at the same time as Normandeau, and Couillard said people should be careful not to paint everyone with the same brush.

"I will say that it's very bad to do any kind of attempt to establish any kind of guilt or indirect guilty by association," said Couillard.

He added that all of the accused will have their day in court, but professed ignorance to what else police are doing.

"I'm not aware at all of what is going on in terms of inquiries or investigations," said Couillard.

Normandeau, whose name is mentioned 175 times in the final report from the Charbonneau Commission, testified at the corruption inquiry that each minister in the Liberal government had to raise $100,000 a year.

She raised $750,000 dollars between 2005 and 2009.

Contractor Lino Zambito testified he donated $126,000 to the Liberals, gave Normandeau tickets to Celine Dion, and gave her 40 roses to celebrate her 40th birthday.

His company eventually scored a $28 million contract for a water purification plant in Boisbriand.

While UPAC is still not giving details about what exactly is behind the Normandeau case, observers say Normandeau’s arrest shows that the anti-corruption squad is working.

“The fear was that those politicians were untouchables and UPAC has shown yesterday that they're not untouchable,” said Brian Myles of Le Devoir.

The investigation is continuing and looking at other Liberal fundraisers during the Jean Charest era.

The premier says new laws, such as the one that limits political donations to a maximum of $100, make it very difficult to cheat, but not everyone buys that.

“Making the law more stringent might help but at the end of the day people who don't want to follow the law won't follow the law,” said Concordia University professor Mireille Paquet.

Still, the arrests are proof that police are paying attention to political contributions

“In a truly corrupt society, charges like that don't happen. Period,” Myles said.

Normandeau's lawyer insists she didn't break the law. She plans to plead not guilty to all charges.

Her case will be back in court next month.