Quebec union boss warned Mob wanted to wrest control of investment fund from him - InfoNews

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Quebec union boss warned Mob wanted to wrest control of investment fund from him

Former FTQ president Michel Arsenault arrives at the Charbonneau Commission looking into corruption in the Quebec construction industry Monday, January 27, 2014 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
January 28, 2014 - 10:14 AM

MONTREAL - The former president of the Quebec Federation of Labour says he was told that organized crime was plotting to take over the union's billion-dollar investment fund.

Michel Arsenault told Quebec's corruption inquiry today that he took the Mob warning with a grain of salt and never feared for his safety.

He says the notice came from construction magnate Tony Accurso, who told him about an attempt to usurp his position at the helm of the union and the investment fund because he wasn't pushing their projects.

Arsenault says he believes now that organized crime tried to access the fund through Jocelyn Dupuis, a former construction wing boss who was friendly with several people with criminal ties.

The former union boss says organized crime infiltrating the union's Solidarity Fund is the worst thing that could have happened.

But Arsenault says the push never materialized and he believes the fund is now insulated from organized crime's reach after changes to the structure and rules were made in 2009.

Arsenault held on to the presidency right up until his retirement last November and says in that time he was never offered a bribe and never accepted a kickback.

He says he didn't notify police when he received word about the infiltration attempt because he didn't feel his personal security was threatened.

"I've never woken up in the morning to check if there's a bomb underneath my car," Arsenault said. "I was never afraid, I took it all with a grain of salt."

Arsenault says he didn't believe in calling news conferences on the matter, wanting to save the image of the union and the fund.

"I never felt pressure from organized crime on me while QFL president," Arsenault said. "Otherwise, I would have told the police."

News from © The Canadian Press, 2014
The Canadian Press

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