Jacques Corriveau’s sentencing on sponsorship fraud conviction set for Jan. 25

Jacques Corriveau’s sentencing on sponsorship fraud conviction set for Jan. 25

Former Liberal organizer Jacques Corriveau arrives at the Montreal Courthouse in Montreal, Monday, September 26, 2016. An ex-Liberal organizer convicted of fraud related to the federal sponsorship scandal will be sentenced Jan. 25. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes.

MONTREAL — An ex-Liberal organizer convicted of fraud related to the federal sponsorship scandal will face some hefty financial penalties as he awaits sentencing next week.

Jacques Corriveau wasn’t present in a Montreal courtroom Tuesday as lawyers finalized a division of his assets to repay the amount he owes the federal government.

A jury found Corriveau, 83, guilty of three charges in November: fraud against the government, forgery and laundering proceeds of crime.

Corriveau’s lawyer has appealed the conviction.

The crimes Corriveau was convicted of occurred between 1997 and 2003 and were related to what became known as the sponsorship scandal, which eventually helped bring down the Liberal government in 2006.

The sponsorship program was created after the 1995 sovereignty referendum to increase the federal government’s presence in Quebec.

Ottawa’s inquiry into the program found that firms were winning contracts based on donations to the federal Liberals, with little work being done.

Corriveau, who worked on ex-prime minister Jean Chretien’s Liberal leadership campaigns and was close to him, was accused of pocketing roughly $7 million in kickbacks tied to sponsorship contracts given to Liberal-friendly companies.

The judge who headed the commission into the scandal described Corriveau in his report about 10 years ago as the ”central figure” in the kickback scheme.

On Tuesday, Quebec Superior Court Justice Jean-Francois Buffoni agreed to a plan put forth by Crown and defence lawyers on returning amounts considered proceeds of crime.

Corriveau’s home in St-Bruno-de-Montarville, evaluated at $985,000, will be sold and a part of the sale amount will go to the federal government.

A bank account with more than $850,000 will be seized and Corriveau will also face a $1.4-million fine when he’s sentenced Jan. 25. He would not necessarily be obliged to pay the fine until after his sentence expires.

Prosecutors have suggested he serve between three and five years behind bars, while the defence has countered with a sentence in the community, citing his age and the lengthy delay in his case getting to trial.

In a motion filed in the Quebec Court of Appeal in December, Corriveau’s lawyers argued the trial judge erred by not granting a stay of proceedings before the trial began this fall because of those delays.

Corriveau was charged in December 2013 following an 11-year investigation, with the trial only held last year.

Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press

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