NEWS

Montreal Ex-Cop Accused Of Selling Information To Mafia Commits Suicide: Report

01/18/2012 11:02 EST | Updated 03/19/2012 05:12 EDT
CP
LAVAL, Que. - A retired Montreal police officer who allegedly tried to sell the names of informants to the Mafia is believed to have committed suicide.

Several news outlets reported that the former cop's body was found in a hotel room north of Montreal on Wednesday — the same day La Presse named him as the alleged mole.

Police in the city of Laval confirmed that a man's body was found Wednesday around 8:30 a.m. inside the hotel by an employee, but they did not release his name.

Montreal police drew a connection between the death and an investigation into allegations a retired, 33-year veteran of their force offered names of informants to the Mob in exchange for money.

But Sgt. Ian Lafreniere of Montreal police, which also searched the hotel for clues, stopped short of identifying the victim in Laval as the alleged mole.

"We're not hiding it, it (the death) is linked to a major investigation on our territory — and one that the media has talked about a lot in the last two days," Lafreniere said, referring to allegations that have grabbed big newspaper headlines this week.

The body's discovery came one day after Montreal police chief Marc Parent publicly pledged to get to the bottom of mole allegations.

News about the alleged transgression broke earlier this week, prompting journalists to grill Parent on the topic Tuesday as he attended a news conference on a different subject.

He said the retired officer in question worked in the intelligence unit and was one of only a handful of people who had access to the confidential list of informants.

Several news reports said the man allegedly contacted a lawyer who represents organized-crime figures and offered details about the informants in exchange for a six-figure sum.

To show he was serious, he allegedly gave the attorney four informant names.

Parent said the individuals have since been contacted by police. He insisted an ongoing internal investigation revealed none of the informants was deemed to be at risk.

Police say an April 2011 wiretap investigation led to the allegations. They allege the offences happened after the man's retirement three months earlier.

The former officer, a detective-sergeant with a spotless record, was arrested and released last October without being formally charged.

Lafreniere said he could not confirm the man found in the hotel had killed himself.

"In a case like that where there were allegations that the person had possible links to organized crime, we can't take chances," he said.

"We need to make really sure that it truly was this kind of death (suicide)."

On Wednesday, orange police tape was wrapped around pillars outside the front entrance of Hotel Chateauneuf as investigators carrying clipboards and cameras buzzed about the building.

A spokeswoman for Laval police said clues found in the hotel seemed to indicate the man took his own life, but she couldn't confirm it was a suicide.

"The victim is identified, the family has been advised of the situation and unfortunately I cannot reveal, for now, the identity of the person until the investigation in the hotel is complete," Const. Nathalie Lorrain said as she stood in the hotel's parking lot, which was packed with police vehicles.