Montreal`s former Executive Committee Chairman faces new fraud charges
Frank Zampino, who happens to have once been the second-most powerful politician at Montreal city hall, is currently asking a judge to stay the charges in his current trial for fraud, conspiracy and breach of trust.
In a motion filed with the Quebec court on the 10th of October 2017, “Zampino’s lawyer Isabel Schurman argues that her client’s arrest on a whole new set of charges last month while in the midst of testifying at his current trial was ‘egregious’ and unfair”.
UPAC, Quebec’s anti-corruption unit arrested Zampino on the 19th of September.2017, during a break in his current trial.
Now 2 sets of charges
In his current case before the courts now, Zampino is currently being accused of using his political influence to aid a developer Paolo Catania in securing a contract to build Faubourg-Contrecoeur, a housing development known in east-end Montreal.
His arrest last monthhowever is connected to a fresh set of multiple fraud and corruption charges related to the awarding of municipal contracts with a total value of $160 million between the year 2001 and 2009
In her motion filed on the 10th of October 2017, “Schurman explains that she was well aware her client was the subject of parallel investigations regarding municipal corruption before his current trial began”. She claims to have written to Quebec’s Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions on two occasions requesting clarification on the parallel investigations, suspecting they might affect the current trial.
Shurman asked whether Zampino would face new charges as a result of the said investigations and when. She claims that her letters remained unanswered.
Zampino began testifying at his current trial in August of 2017.Cross-examination followed in September and was still in progress when the case was adjourned, to resume on the 10th of October 2017. During this break, Zampino was then arrested on the new charges on 19th September 2017.
Lawyer, Schurman argues defence ‘hamstringed’
Schurman, Zampino’s lawyer wrote in the motion filed on the 10th of October 2017 that Zampino’s arrest in the middle of his cross-examination “offends the principles of fair play and decency which are key to the integrity of our judicial system.”
She further argued that there’s significant overlap between some of the evidence, and possible witnesses involved in the new charges in relation to the current trial.
She argued that the most appropriate line of action would be to stay the current charges.
Shurman also suggested that her client, Zampino be given the liberty to start his testimony over again from scratch.
Yvan Poulin the Quebec court Judge ruled on the 10th of October2017 that the need to argue Schurman’s motion immediately wasn’t present therefore it could wait until the end of the trial.
The judge Yvan did agree to Schurman’s request to adjourn the trial until the 17th of October 2017
This most likely indicates that the trial will pick up then where it left off, with the continuation of the prosecution’s cross-examination of Zampino.
Zampino will have quite the preparation to do now as he is set to appear in court on his new round of charges come November 2017.