12/12/2013 12:43 EST | Updated 02/11/2014 05:59 EST

UPAC makes four arrests in Châteauguay for alleged bribery

Quebec's anti-corruption unit, UPAC, made four arrests in Châteauguay on Montreal's South Shore early this morning for crimes that include an attempt to corrupt the city's mayor.

UPAC Commissioner Robert Lafrenière said Châteauguay Mayor Nathalie Simon played a key role in the investigation that started in September, by informing police that she was offered money in exchange for a position in the municipal administration and land dezoning to allow for real estate projects. 

"These arrests are the result of the mayor's vigilance and courage during our investigation," said Lafrenière at a news conference Thursday. "It shows the importance of citizens in the fight against corruption and specifically elected officials who are exposed to it day after day."

Former councillor René Lafrance, his son Eric Lafrance, Michel Bergevin and Jacques Roy face several charges, including government fraud, breach of trust, municipal corruption and conspiracy.

The four men are expected to appear in court in February.

Provincial police said there are 70 officers working on the case today, and they have seized $31,000 in cash and a vehicle.

Police said the investigation is not over, and other arrests may follow. 

"The collaboration with elected officials is crucial," said Lafrenière. "It gives the population back their confidence."