His prostate made him do it.
Quebec’s anti-corruption police force and the RCMP are looking into a $25,000 cheque that was given to Denis Coderre by a Laval businessman in 2012 while he was a federal MP, before he became mayor of Montreal, the Journal de Montréal reported Monday.
The cheque was given to him by Jean Rizzuto (no relation to Montreal members of the mafia of the same name), owner of the Marché 440 and a former Liberal party fundraiser.
Coderre and Rizzuto initially denied to reporters that the cheque was given, until proof was shown, the Journal reported.
Coderre said the cheque was to help him pay legal fees in his lawsuit with hockey player Shane Doan. The two were suing each other after Coderre publically stated Doan should not be allowed to participate in the Olympics because he was accused of making anti-francophone statements during a hockey game in 2005. The lawsuits were settled out of court.
Bank records show the cheque was deposited into Coderre’s personal account on March 2, 2012. Seventeen days later, Coderre gave a personal cheque in the same amount to his law firm, Fasken Martineau, which was handling his legal case with Doan.
Coderre said Rizzuto was a friend for more than 30 years who offered to help pay for legal fees because he supported his cause to protect the French language. As a member of the second opposition, Coderre said he had no power to give contracts to Rizzuto. He has not given any contracts to Rizzuto as mayor of Montreal, he said, and thus is not in a conflict of interest.
Coderre said he was suffering from a swollen prostate when journalists asked about the cheque earlier this month, and does not recollect what he said at the time.
The rules governing members of Parliament states that any gift exceeding $500 must be declared.
Coderre said that because he felt the cheque was related to a personal matter and he considered it a contribution to the cause rather than a gift, he did not think at the time it had to be declared. In retrospect, he said Monday, perhaps he should have declared it.
The police forces told the newspaper that at this point in the investigation, no criminal charges or accusations are being considered.
Police investigate Denis Coderre over $25,000 cheque he denied receiving when he was an MP in 2012 | National Post