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Contractor in corruption case says Montreal mayor's party received kickbacks

MONTREAL -- The Montreal mayor's political party received kickbacks of three percent of all construction in the Canadian city, a former construction mogul testified on Monday at a corruption inquiry.

Lino Zambito told the commission headed by Superior Court Justice France Charbonneau the monies were paid to former construction company head Nicolo Milioto, whom police have identified as a middle-man between construction magnates and Montreal's Rizzuto crime family.

Zambito said the payments began in 2005 or 2006, and Milioto told him they were destined for Mayor Gerald Tremblay's Union Montreal party.

Tremblay in a scrum with reporters at city hall denied the allegations while dismissing calls for his resignation.

“That rumor of the 3 percent has been going on for a while, and as a result of that I verified, I asked my official agent to verify and I was assured that there was no illegal financing going on of my party,” Tremblay said.

The mayor has led Montreal since 2002. The next municipal election is scheduled for November 2013.

The Charbonneau Commission is looking into alleged graft, bid-rigging and kickbacks in the awarding of government construction contracts.

The hearings started in May after a leaked report by a Quebec anti-graft unit pointed to evidence that construction companies were banding together to keep prices high — and possibly had links to organized crime.

During her two-year mandate, Charbonneau is tasked with looking into the activities over the past 15 years of construction firms handling government contracts, and any possible illicit financing of political parties.

It will release its findings in 2013.

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