The wife of former Laval mayor Gilles Vaillancourt will be handed a cheque worth nearly $50,000 soon because the Crown was unable to prove some of the cash seized during a corruption investigation does not belong to her.
Superior Court Justice James Brunton was asked to sign a court order at the Laval courthouse on Monday that will allow the Sûreté du Québec return a total of $49,000 to Vaillancourt’s wife, Francine Dupuis, and another $5,000 to the former mayor, who is incarcerated following his guilty plea to corruption-related charges late last year.
The request for the order was made by Vaillancourt’s lawyer and, Brunton was informed on Monday, the Crown does not contest it. The order stated that The Crown “does not claim that the sums seized are in connection with the accusations brought against (Vaillancourt) and consents to (the return of the money).”
The money was seized in 2012 at four different locations while the Sûreté du Québec was carrying out search warrants in Project Honorer, an investigation into how Vaillancourt was part of a system of corruption and collusion in which he collected a percentage of the construction and engineering contracts awarded by the city between 1994 and 2010. The city of Laval estimated Vaillancourt made more than $12 million in a lawsuit it filed against him in 2015.
In December, Vaillancourt pleaded guilty to conspiracy, fraud and breach of trust. As part of the guilty plea, he agreed to transfer $8.6 million to the government (including $7 million held in a Swiss bank account) and transfer a residence, worth $1 million, to the government as well. On Dec. 15, Brunton sentenced Vaillancourt to a six-year prison term.
Earlier this month, TVA reported that Dupuis managed to keep a $900,000 condominium in Florida despite the agreement that was reached between Vaillancourt, the Crown and the city of Laval before Vaillancourt pleaded guilty in December. The city’s lawsuit was dropped after the former mayor plead guilty.