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Montreal city hall locked down

Montreal's city hall was locked down while being swept by police Tuesday in one of numerous raids conducted across the city that had even the newly installed mayor being questioned.

The province's anti-corruption squad said it was carrying out nine raids at the seat of the municipal government, in Old Montreal, and six other ones in different borough offices.

A news report said the new mayor, Michael Applebaum, and the man he recently replaced, Gerald Tremblay, were both among 25 people questioned by police. Spokespeople at the police squad and city hall did not confirm, or deny, that report.

Applebaum added some details later, at a 9:15 p.m. news scrum outside city hall. He confirmed meeting with police but said he was not a target of the probe, only a participant.

"I'm not under investigation," Applebaum said.

"I'm there to work with the police."

He did not elaborate on reports that the raids were related to the 2009 campaign financing of Union Montreal — the long-ruling, now-crumbling municipal party Applebaum recently abandoned. He said he wanted to avoid revealing details that might hamper the investigation.

But the mayor did say: "I ran a clean campaign. I raised money legally."

He also sought to downplay Tuesday's events, calling it "normal" that so many officers would be involved in a probe of this kind and that he would speak with them.

These latest raids were part of a two-year-old investigation related to fraud, breach of trust, and falsified documents in Quebec.

A number of arrests have already been made in connection with construction corruption, which is also the subject of an ongoing public inquiry.

The Canadian Press


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