MONTREAL - Quebec's anti-corruption squad has produced a list of its activities from 2012 — and what a list it is.
Forty-nine people arrested. Criminal charges against 13 companies. One-hundred and seventy-seven different charges laid. And arrest warrants issued 450 times.
Those are the numbers laid out at a news conference today by Robert Lafreniere, head of the provincial unit created last year.
But he suggests his squad is just getting warmed up.
"Acts of collusion and corruption exist everywhere in Quebec — in every region. Our investigations are proving this to us," Lafreniere told a news conference.
"We have discovered new stratagems that I will reveal at the appropriate moment."
He said more than 20 ongoing investigations touch on areas outside the construction industry into things like contracts for computer technology and work related to the Plan Nord. That's the provincial project to develop mining, tourism and infrastructure in the north.
The arrests so far have dealt essentially with alleged wrongdoing in the construction industry at the municipal level — with charges laid against the mayors of two small towns and the mayor of Laval resigning after his homes and offices were searched.
Lafreniere was asked whether his unit is also investigating activity at the federal or provincial level.
He replied that the ongoing investigations are looking into municipal and provincial activity.
"Corruption does not simply affect the construction industry and our field of intervention is vast. Our investigations are leading us to areas as diverse as computer technology, the hospital sector, the Plan Nord and infrastructure," he said.
Details of suspected fraud in the hospital sector have already emerged publicly. A $2.3 billion hospital project was at the centre of fraud charges laid late last month against Pierre Duhaime, the former chief executive of engineering giant SNC-Lavalin.
Lafreniere said 3,500 people have been questioned as part of ongoing investigations.
Quebec's corruption inquiry has heard an exhaustive history of the Italian Mafia -- how it was created, how it got into the construction business, and how pervasive it is. One witness, Italian-born criminology PhD Valentina Tenti, shared a document recovered by Italian police that purports to hold the "Ten Commandments" of the Sicilian Mafia, known the "Cosa Nostra" (Our Thing). <em>With files from The Canadian Press</em>
10. No Easy Meetings
No one can present himself directly to one of our friends ("amico nostro"). There must be a third party to do it.
9. Never Look At The Wives Of Friends.
8. Never Be Seen With Cops
7. Don't Go To Pubs And Clubs
6. Stay Available ALWAYS
Always being available for Cosa Nostra is a duty -- even if your wife is about to give birth.
5. Appointments Must Absolutely Be Respected.
4. Wives Must Be Treated With Respect
3. Be Truthful
When asked for any information, the answer must be the truth.
2. Respect The Cash
Money cannot be taken if it belongs to others or to other families.
1. Keep It Exclusive
People who can't be part of Cosa Nostra: Anyone who has a close relative in the police, anyone with a traitor for a relative, anyone who behaves badly and doesn't hold to moral values.