Mounties charge former Senate policy adviser with fraud and breach of trust

A former Conservative Senate staffer has been swept up in a corruption investigation and is facing charges relating to the awarding of contracts.

MONTREAL — A former Conservative Senate staffer has been swept up in a corruption investigation and is facing charges relating to the awarding of contracts.

The RCMP said Monday it has filed five charges against former Senate policy adviser Hubert Pichet, 58.

The charges include fraud against the federal government and breach of trust by a public official.

“Claiming that he could influence the awarding of contracts, Pichet allegedly received money from companies wanting to do business with the government,” the Mounties said in a statement.

An RCMP spokesman declined to comment further on the charges.

The Prime Minister’s Office issued a one-line statement about the charges: “Those who break the law must be held responsible for their actions.”

A lawyer by trade, Pichet was most recently a Senate policy adviser between 2007 and 2011, but has long had ties to the Tories. He ran unsuccessfully for the Conservatives in the 2008 election.

He served as an assistant to Tory senator Pierre-Claude Nolin and previously worked as an aide to former Conservative prime minister Brian Mulroney.

Pichet’s name emerged during 2010 hearings into the controversy over a $9-million contract to renovate Parliament Hill’s West Block that was given to a masonry business owned by Paul Sauve. The RCMP then began investigating the contract.

Pichet was linked to the contract through the testimony of the late Gilles Varin, a lobbyist with Conservative ties who Sauve said he paid $140,000 to help him secure the lucrative deal.

Sauve’s company, LM Sauve, went bankrupt a year later and he lost the contract.

Varin said he introduced Sauve to Pichet in a Montreal restaurant in 2007 and that two men talked for a few minutes.

Pichet told Radio-Canada he was asked by Varin about contacts in the Public Works Department, but his involvement ended there.

Varin passed away in 2011.

Sauve donated to Pichet’s campaign when the latter ran for the Tories in an east-end Montreal riding in 2008.

Pichet is to appear in court on May 1 in Montreal.

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