Montreal's interim mayor Michael Applebaum arrested on fraud charges

Michael Applebaum speaks to reporters in Montreal, Friday, November 16, 2012 after he was elected interim mayor of Montreal. Graham Hughes,AP Photo/THE CANADIAN PRESS

MONTREAL Quebec's anti-corruption unit on Monday arrested Montreal's interim mayor, a man who vowed to clean up the corruption scandals plaguing the city, on fraud charges.

Commissioner Robert Lafreniere said Michael Applebaum faces 14 charges, including defrauding government, abuse of confidence and corruption.

Applebaum was arrested at his home early Monday. He took over as interim mayor of Canada's second-largest city last November after former mayor Gerald Tremblay resigned amid corruption allegations.

"The corruption and collusion will no longer be tolerated," Lafreniere said. "No one is above the law and you cannot hide from the law."

The charges stem from alleged acts that occurred before Applebaum became mayor. While officials offered few details, they said they relate to real estate projects between 2006 and 2011 when he served as borough mayor.

Applebaum, 50, had promised not to run in the upcoming election, slated for this November. But his appointment was enough to make history: he became the first Anglophone mayor of the city in exactly 100 years.

Signs of trouble arrived soon afterward.

Anti-corruption officials raided Montreal's city hall last February. They also targeted offices in various boroughs, including the one Applebaum represented for many years.

Applebaum's arrest comes just a month after Gilles Vaillancourt, the former longtime mayor of neighboring Laval, was arrested on corruption charges.

The provincial police allege that the city hall Vaillancourt led was essentially a criminal organization, with officials there allegedly enriching themselves off local construction deals.

In the neighboring province of Ontario Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, who leads Canada's largest city, is facing unrelated allegations that he appeared in a video smoking crack cocaine. The video has not been released publicly.

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