Competition Bureau lays additional bid-rigging charges in Quebec town

MONTREAL – The Competition Bureau of Canada has filed additional criminal charges in Quebec relating to an alleged bid-rigging scheme to win municipal infrastructure contracts in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu.

The agency said Tuesday it had filed two counts of bid-rigging against B. Fregeau & Son and two against president and co-owner Serge Fregeau.

The charges were laid under the Competition Act.

They relate to two calls for tender worth nearly $2.5 million issued between January 2008 and December 2009 for an infrastructure repair project and the construction of a water-retaining basin in the municipality.

The Competition Bureau said it’s the third set of charges stemming from a joint investigation with Quebec provincial police.

Bureau spokeswoman Gabrielle Tasse said the probe is ongoing.

She wouldn’t say if additional charges will be laid or if police are investigating bureaucrats and politicians in the municipalities whose contracts were allegedly targeted by the scheme.

A total of 77 criminal charges were laid in June 2012 against 11 individuals and nine companies, mainly related to infrastructure project in the community southeast of Montreal and surrounding areas.

Additional charges were laid in January 2014 against one individual and one company.

The total value of the municipal contracts in question is $21 million.

None of the trials have yet to begin.

A bid-rigging conviction under the Competition Act carries a maximum prison sentence of 14 years.