10/27/2014 09:30 EDT | Updated 12/27/2014 05:59 EST

Straw man scheme allegedly used in former Laval school board elections

Allegations have emerged that school board elections in Laval in 2003 and 2007 were partially funded by a straw man scheme.

CBC’s French-language service Radio-Canada has found at least one man who said he issued cheques in exchange for cash.

“I was a straw man,” he said. CBC and Radio-Canada are withholding his name.

Under Quebec's strict election financing rules, only individuals can make donations. But for years, there have been allegations that some companies encouraged employees to donate, and then paid them cash to cover the cheques.

The man said he wrote cheques to candidates from Action scolaire de Laval — cheques that were later reimbursed.

It's illegal - but the man said that's exactly what happened to him during school board elections in Laval 11 years ago.

He said he and an acquaintance wrote 10 cheques for $500. Then he got an envelope.

“I received an envelope that contained the total amount of the cheques of $5,000 — in cash,” he said.

He said that he and others also wrote cheques during the 2007 campaign.

Radio Canada's investigation also found that most of the donors in 2007 were connected to companies that provided services to the Commission scolaire de Laval.

During both elections, Action scolaire de Laval was led by Francine Charbonneau, who is now Quebec's minister of families.

​Charbonneau denied she ever did anything wrong.

“I always followed the financing rules. Not only did I follow them, I always encouraged others on my team to do the same and I can say with honesty that I never participated in a so-called straw man scheme,” Charbonneau said.