Quebec Premier Jean Charest
Credits: JEAN-FRANCOIS DESGAGNES/QMI AGENCY
Louis-Georges Boudreault, 77, is charged with breach of trust in a bid-rigging and kickback scheme in the Montreal bedroom community of Mascouche, Que.
Charest personally honoured Boudreault with an award at a party meeting near Quebec City in 2010 for Boudreault's years of service as an organizer.
Boudreault organized, among others, the 2002 campaign of
Labour Minister Lise Theriault, one of Charest's most powerful allies.
Boudreault also held a fundraising cocktail attended by the premier in 2010. Charest appeared to distance himself from Boudreault when asked about the scandal in Quebec City.
"I want to reiterate ... that the Quebec government does not interfere with these operations," he said. "The operation reminds us that nobody is above the law."
Also arrested Tuesday was Pierre Raymond, 55, a Liberal organizer who faces six counts in relation to the scam in which construction firms allegedly offered vacations and other benefits to municipal officials in exchange for contracts.
The province's former corruption investigator told the legislature last year that the construction industry is infiltrated by the mafia and that money is routinely kicked back to politicians.
Police also picked up Tony Accurso, Quebec's biggest construction magnate, and they issued a warrant for Mascouche Mayor Richard Marcotte, who is believed to be in Cuba.
The roundup has touched all three of Quebec's three main political parties.
Parti Quebecois Leader Pauline Marois said she was "satisfied" with the raids.
Her remarks prompted the leader of the third party in the legislature, Francois Legault of the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ), to remind Marois that two of the suspects have participated in PQ fundraisers.
The Liberals also mentioned that Accurso has previously raised funds for the Action démocratique du Québec (ADQ), the party that merged with Legault's group earlier this year.