On April 7, two Revenue Canada officials were arrested at the agency's offices in Montreal and interviewed by the RCMP.
This is the culmination of a Revenue Canada routine tax audit that gradually increased in scope once officials from the tax agency found some of their own internal documents in the hands of an accountant working for a private firm owned by a man called Francesco Bruno.
It’s alleged that two ‘inactive’ companies, 3703436 Canada Inc., and Entretien Torrelli Inc., owned by Francesco Bruno, were used to hide millions of dollars in a fraud scheme involving major construction firms in Quebec.
Revenue Canada believes that between 2005 and 2007, companies owned by construction magnate Tony Accurso funnelled millions to these two ‘inactive’ companies and the Revenue Canada employee and a colleague falsified a tax audit, enabling Mr Bruno to then send $1.7-million to Switzerland and the Bahamas. No charges have been laid, and none of the allegations have been proved in court.
On April 8, in a continuation of their investigations, RCMP officers and Revenue Canada investigators raided six offices of Simard-Beaudry Construction owned by Mr Accurso, who has close ties to municipal politicians, a number of whom have been guests on Mr Accurso’s luxury yacht. These included the then chairman of the city's executive committee, Montreal councillor Frank Zampino, who went on trips to the Caribbean with Mr. Accurso in 2007 and 2008.
During this time, Zampino was involved in the awarding of a $355-million water-meter contract to a consortium that included one of Mr. Accurso's firms.
Mr. Zampino left municipal politics in 2008 to become vice-president of Dessau Inc., an engineering firm that is also a partner in the water-meter contract consortium.