Allegations of fraud, breach of trust at centre of provincial police raids on Montreal police HQ

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Quebec provincial police raided the Montreal police force’s downtown headquarters Thursday in connection with allegations of fraud and breach of trust against a high-ranking officer.

In an interview Friday morning, Chief Philippe Pichet said the Sûreté du Québec’s deputy chief informed him around 4 p.m. ET Thursday that search warrants would be executed at different buildings belonging to the City of Montreal in connection with the probe.

The SQ’s mixed squad conducted the raids. Members of that team arrived at headquarters of the Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) around 6 p.m. Pichet said he was still at his office at the time.

They were looking for a specific file, he said. Pichet also said the investigation has no impact on the day-to-day service the force provides Montrealers every day.

“I know it’s big, seeing the headquarters of the SPVM being searched, but … [investigators] are doing their job, they’re going to look at all the information and it’s important to make sure we’re [shedding] light on the file,” he said.

Sources told Radio-Canada that the officer targeted by the investigation is close to the chief.

Ongoing investigation

Pichet said someone went to the SQ’s squad, which was set up by Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux, with the allegations.

No one has been arrested and the investigation is ongoing.

He spent the night meeting with other high-ranking officers and said he has to inform the people concerned before speaking further about the case.

SPVM headquarters

Pichet said he was informed the raids would occur a couple of hours before the Sûreté du Québec investigators showed up at headquarters. (Radio-Canada)

Pichet said the SQ team searched the third and seventh floors, where the operational planning division and human resources are located.

Radio-Canada originally reported the raids targeted the building’s fourth and ninth floors.

The fourth floor is where internal affairs was located until last winter. Meanwhile, the ninth floor is for the top brass.

The SQ also conducted searches at a local police station, a municipal building, and the Montreal police’s archives. No private homes were searched, he said.

The raids come as Montreal police attempt to improve transparency in the wake of scandals involving its internal affairs division.

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Allegations of fraud, breach of trust at centre of provincial police raids on Montreal police HQ

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