10/07/2013 14:34 EDT | Updated 01/23/2014 18:58 EST

'I'll help you,' Gilles Vaillancourt tells Laval candidate

Ex-Laval mayor Gilles Vaillancourt has been getting involved in the municipal election campaign, according to a recording obtained by Radio-Canada.

Claire LeBel, a mayoral candidate and Option Laval party leader, said she got a phone call from Vaillancourt saying he had important information to tell her.

She said she was suspicious, but agreed to meet her former boss so she could record their conversation.

Vaillancourt, the longtime mayor of Laval and the leader of the PRO des Lavallois party, resigned in November among a number of serious corruption allegations. LeBel was elected to council in 2009 under the PRO des Lavallois banner. She left the party last November.

In the meeting, Vaillancourt offered to help LeBel three times and inquired about how her campaign financing was going.

He was recorded as saying, “If you need my help, I would be able to help you very discreetly, without letting anyone know.”

LeBel believes Vaillancourt was offering her money.

“That’s what I heard, that’s the feeling I have. In doing this, he’s attaching himself to future elected officials. It sickens me a bit, I find it disgusting,” LeBel said.

Vaillancourt was arrested months after his resignation, on May 9, 2013, as part of the same operation that led to the arrests of 36 other people including Tony Accurso.

The ex-mayor faces 12 charges including conspiracy, fraud, influence peddling, breach of trust and gangsterism. A conviction of gangsterism alone would carry a maximum sentence of life in prison.

LeBel’s recording of Vaillancourt suggests the former mayor has long been aware of corruption in Laval politics.

“You know, even if there’s a new law, even if everyone’s saying, ‘Look, I painted my hands white,’ [...] Listen up, the reality is that there’s already another system,” he said on the tape.

LeBel confirmed to Radio-Canada she she gave a copy of the recording to Operation Hammer, the province’s specialized squad formed in 2009 to investigate alleged collusion and corruption in the construction industry.