Oct 4, 2012 / 2:50 pm
Dozens of police officers were raiding the personal residence and the city-hall offices Friday of the mayor of Quebec's third-biggest municipality, Montreal-area Laval.
The searches aimed at Gilles Vaillancourt make him the highest-profile politician in the province, so far, to be targeted by one of the many recent raids by the new police anti-corruption squad.
About 70 officers from the provincial police anti-corruption unit were searching the different locations Thursday; Vaillancourt was not home when the officers arrived there, his press secretary told The Canadian Press.
Laval city hall was evacuated after the raids began, around 4 p.m.
A spokeswoman for the anti-corruption unit wouldn't say what was being seized but she confirmed material was being gathered as part of an ongoing investigation.
"There is an investigation underway and the seizures are taking place to help along that investigation," said Anne-Frederick Laurence.
Vaillancourt is not accused of any crime.
The mayor has in the past expressed outrage on occasions when accusers tied him to allegations of crooked cash dealings.
A powerful figure in municipal politics, Vaillancourt has been in office for 23 years although his reign has become increasingly marked by controversy.
A news report last month on illegal campaign financing said a onetime fundraiser for the Parti Quebecois claimed to have received $10,000 in cash from Vaillancourt during the 1994 provincial election.
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