POLITICS

Paolo Catania, actually make that two Paolo Catanias, in legal spotlight

03/20/2013 10:41 EDT | Updated 05/20/2013 05:12 EDT
MONTREAL - Two people named Paolo Catania were in the legal spotlight in Quebec on Wednesday — with both facing fraud charges in separate cases.

One Paolo Catania was arrested on numerous charges —including abuse of power by a public official and defrauding the government.

Quebec's anti-corruption police squad said Catania and Francois Theriault were arrested by provincial police Wednesday.

An arrest warrant was also issued for Antonio Catania.

Theriault and Paolo Catania were both released by investigators on promises to appear in court on May 1.

The men are also facing charges of conspiracy, fraud, use of a counterfeit document and accepting secret commissions.

The arrests came shortly before another man named Paolo Catania appeared in court in Montreal in a separate case.

That Catania, who runs a construction empire alleged to have extensive ties to the Sicilian Mafia, faces criminal charges in a high-profile case.

He appeared in court Wednesday along with seven other people.

Quebec's construction inquiry has heard testimony about tight links between Catania's business and the most senior figures in the Rizzuto crime family.

Others who appeared in court with Catania included Frank Zampino, the former chairman of city of Montreal's executive committee and Bernard Trepanier, a former organizer for Union Montreal.

That's the municipal party of former mayor Gerald Tremblay which has been rocked by alleged scandals.

Trepanier has been famously dubbed ''Mr. Three Per Cent'' at Quebec's corruption inquiry for allegedly collecting kickbacks from construction companies on behalf of Union Montreal.

Outside the courtroom Wednesday, his lawyer, Daniel Rock, complained that Trepanier's name keeps coming up at the Charbonneau Commission.

"It bothers him, but what can he do?" Rock told reporters. "He can't erase it.

"They repeat his name day after day and they take no precautions as to filter the information that is said about my client," he said. "I think we could use that if we're going for a trial before a jury."

Trepanier has been ordered to appear at the commission, but no date has been set.

Rock said he may file a motion to argue that Trepanier can't have a fair trial.

Trepanier and the seven others face a variety of charges in connection with the construction of Faubourg Contrecoeur, a residential complex in east-end Montreal. The charges include fraud, conspiracy and breach of trust.

They will return to court April 29 to have a date set for their mega-trial.

The Crown used a procedure called a preferred indictment that allows the case to bypass a preliminary hearing and go directly to trial.