NEWS

Robert Rousseau admitted he was handed cash-stuffed envelopes

11/25/2013 02:05 EST | Updated 01/25/2014 05:59 EST
Newly released court documents suggest a senior borough manager who killed himself in March may have been caught up in a scheme that involved former Mayor Michael Applebaum.

The documents, which were released today after the court lifted a publication ban, are part of a case against Applebaum, who is facing charges of fraud, conspiracy, breach of trust and corruption.

Police believe that while Applebaum was the mayor of the Côte-des-Neiges--Notre-Dame-de-Gâce borough, he would authorize permits and change zoning rules in exchange for cash from developers.

The newly released information suggests that senior bureaucrat Robert Rousseau may have been intimidated into participating in that very scheme.

The documents reveal what Rousseau told investigators the day before he killed himself.

Rousseau, who was the director of the borough's division of permits and inspections at the time, met with investigators from Quebec's anti-corruption unit (UPAC) on March 8.

Manager says Tony Magi handed him cash-stuffed envelope

He told investigators that in two separate instances, he had been handed envelopes of cash from developers without explanation — the same developers tied to the deals that Applebaum is suspected of meddling with.

In one instance, Rousseau said he was invited out to dinner with businessman Michel Servant. Afterwards, he said Servant handed him an envelope stuffed with $10,000 in 100-dollar bills. 

But Rousseau said when he tried to return the money, Servant told him to "sleep peacefully and leave it be."

Rousseau also told investigators about a meeting in 2007 with Ricardo Magi. He said that Tony Magi, a Montreal businessman with known links to organized crime, arrived partway through the meeting to deliver an envelope.

Rousseau said that when Magi motioned for him to take the envelope, he tried to refuse. But Rousseau told investigators that Magi firmly told him "That's enough. Take it."

The manager said he felt intimidated and accepted the money — $1,000 in 100-dollar and 50-dollar  bills — despite his concerns.

Suicide note not available for publication 

The day after that interview, Rousseau was found dead in his Châteauguay home.

He had hung himself.

Court documents reveal that Rousseau did leave a suicide note, although the contents of that message are not available for publication. 

Investigators also found a USB key inside Rousseau's pants pocket. 

Applebaum is due back in court next month.

MORE:cbcNews