A Quebec government panel looking into corruption saw a photo Monday of a powerful union boss having his back soaped by a real estate developer who’s facing charges of fraud and influence peddling.
The picture from 2005 shows construction magnate Tony Accurso scrubbing the back of Jean Lavallée, 73, who headed the construction wing of Quebec’s biggest labor union.
A lawyer for the government panel put the picture into evidence. He asked Lavallée about it but the former union boss said his memory was foggy.
Lavallée was testifying for the second day before the Charbonneau Commission. The inquiry is probing corruption and organized crime in construction contracts, labor unions, and campaign finance.
Joe Pistone, an FBI agent who infiltrated the New York mob during the 1970s using the name Donnie Brasco, testified to the Charbonneau Commission in 2012 about ties between New York Mafia families and Canadian crime groups.
The construction company boss Accurso hasn’t appeared before the panel. He was arrested in 2012 is already facing criminal charges including fraud and influence peddling.
“Lavallée sat on the board of the federation’s billion-dollar investment fund and is alleged to have tremendous sway at its real-estate investment arm. The fund was instrumental in financing numerous Accurso-led projects,” CBC News said.
Lavallée said he and Accurso have been friends for thirty years. He admitted taking a half dozen free week-long trips on Accurso’s yacht but denied the trips were bribes for contracts.
“The photo was snapped in February 2005 in the Virgin Islands on a celebratory trip after a successful contract,” CBC News said.
Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.