After eight years of waiting, evidence at the fraud trial of ex-construction magnate Tony Accurso finally began on Monday, with testimony from federal tax officials who had carried out major searches to corner the ‘fallen entrepreneur.
“There were a lot of participants,” testified a former investigator who has since retired, while another witness remembers being sent to look for compromising documents in the offices of Accurso itself, at the headquarters of the Simard company. Beaudry, in Laval.
By the end of the trial in June, the federal Crown will try to prove that Accurso should be convicted of fraud, breach of trust and conspiracy.
Two former officials of the Canada Revenue Agency, Antonio Girardi and Adriano Furgiuele, are also accused, as are entrepreneur Francesco Bruno and accountant Francesco Fiorino.
According to evidence from the Federal Crown, Accurso and Bruno used a false invoicing system to transfer funds from legitimate businesses into empty shells. The money was then transferred to overseas bank accounts, with the aim of bribing tax officials into paying them $ 740,000.
The accountant Fiorino would not have participated in this tax evasion operation, but he would have facilitated the execution of the plan.
According to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, this scheme would have allowed Accurso to save $ 3 million in taxes until his arrest in 2012.
On Monday, witnesses mainly came to explain their participation in a series of searches in 2007 and 2008, including one at Bruno’s, where loan contracts were entered with a company based in Monaco.
In total, more than 70 witnesses are expected to take the stand over the next five months. The trial was initially supposed to be shorter, but health measures due to the pandemic slowed the process.
Accurso is not at his first run-in with the law, he who has already been convicted by jury of having participated in a conspiracy for corruption in the municipal affairs of Laval. He appealed both the verdict and his four-year sentence.