01/22/2012 03:20 EST | Updated 03/23/2012 05:12 EDT

Gilles Duceppe insists he's finished with politics

Former Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe has announced he won't be returning to politics nor joining the Parti Québécois ranks, as rumoured.

In a short statement issued Sunday, Duceppe said he is staying out of active politics to "defend his integrity and rebuild his reputation" after a Montreal newspaper reported he used public funds to pay Bloc employees.

La Presse reported that Duceppe paid the Bloc's general manager with public funds earmarked to run his office in Ottawa.

In his statement, Duceppe said he's always followed the rules, and acted with transparency, but "can't imagine returning to active politics" at this time.

"I wish Mrs. Pauline Marois and the Parti Québécois the best of luck, and I repeat they have my full confidence," he wrote, addressing rampant rumours that he was jockeying for the PQ's top job.

Marois had extended an open invitation to Duceppe to come join the PQ and get involved in some capacity with "her team."

The Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs (PROC) said Saturday it will seek legal advice on whether the Bloc broke parliamentary rules, and whether they have to reimburse the funds.