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Charbonneau Commission starts unearthing corruption in Canada

In 2011, Jacque Duschesneau, the former Montreal Chief of Police, published a report on collusion in the awarding of public contracts. He said contract bids that year were C$347 million below 2010 estimates. He blamed the low bids on rampant corruption within Transport Quebec, the agency responsible for road building in the province.

Duschesneau’s report pushed the government to establish the Charbonneau Commission, headed by Justice France Charbonneau (pictured above). The commission was given a 15-year mandate to investigate public construction contracts and the influence of organized crime.

This week, the Charbonneau Commission began questioning witnesses, including Mike Amato, a police detective who testified that organized crime groups were well integrated into Canadian society.

Joe Pistone, an FBI agent who infiltrated the New York mob during the 1970s while using the name Donnie Brasco, testified this week about ties between New York Mafia families and Canadian crime groups.

According to a report in the Toronto Sun, Pistone ‘testified behind a shield on Monday because the Mafia still has a price on his head. A number of police officers were stationed inside and outside the commission’s downtown headquarters.’

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Melanie Lansakara is a researcher for the FCPA Blog members area.

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