02/20/2013 12:16 EST | Updated 04/22/2013 05:12 EDT

Montreal City Hall Raid: Mayor Has Our Full Support, Government Says

MONTREAL - The Quebec government says Montreal's mayor has its full support after city hall was raided by the province's anti-corruption police squad.

The cabinet minister responsible for Montreal told reporters today that everyone involved should be presumed innocent, since charges have not been laid.

Jean-Francois Lisee says justice must be allowed to run its course.

The anti-corruption unit carried out numerous raids yesterday at Montreal's city hall and several other searches in different borough offices.

A news report said the new mayor, Michael Applebaum, and the man he recently replaced, Gerald Tremblay, were both among 25 people questioned by police.

Applebaum later told reporters that he was merely helping police as a participant in the investigation — and was not a target.

One media report said the raids were related to the campaign financing of Union Montreal — the long-ruling, now-crumbling municipal party Applebaum recently abandoned.

The provincial government's muted support for Applebaum stands in contrast with the stern posture it struck last fall with Tremblay. As scandals swirled around him, the government urged him to reflect on his political future.

Tremblay promptly resigned.

He was accused, during testimony at a public inquiry, of being aware of illegal financing of Union Montreal and ignoring it. Tremblay denied the allegation. Since then, the inquiry witness who made the claim has had other parts of his testimony attacked.

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