Montréal, Tuesday, May 1, 2012 - An investigation dubbed Project "Coche" conducted by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Commercial Crime Section, Anti-Corruption Unit resulted today in the laying of twelve counts of indictment, including for corruption and fraud, against three former Revenue Canada Agency officials. The accused allegedly attempted to extort money from restaurant owners in exchange for lower income tax assessments.
Francesco Fazio, 55, of Ville Saint-Laurent, Elias Kawkab, 50, of Ville Saint-Laurent, and Luigi Falcone, 50, of Laval face charges ranging from extortion to bribery of officers, frauds on the government and breach of trust by a public officer. All three suspects are scheduled to appear at the Montréal Court House on June 11, 2012.
The RCMP investigation into these allegations of corruption within the Canada Revenue Agency was initiated in 2008 and is still ongoing. More charges could be laid in this matter.
Francesco Fazio, a former tax auditor, was discharged in 2011 during the RCMP investigation, which shows that between July and October 2005, he allegedly offered a restaurant owner to lower his upcoming tax notice in exchange for $90,000. Mr. Fazio’s offer was turned down by the restaurant owner.
Elias Kawkab was also discharged in 2011 from his duties as team leader. The investigation shows that, between June 2007 and August 2008, he allegedly received $100,000 in bribes from a Montréal restaurant owner on an agreement that he would erase unreported income.
Luigi Falcone resigned as tax auditor in 2009. The investigation shows that, in 2006, Luigi Falcone allegedly offered a Montréal restaurant owner to lower a bogus tax notice, before even auditing his financial statements, in exchange for $50,000. The restaurant owner refused to pay the bribe.
This investigation by the RCMP Commercial Crime Section, Anti-Corruption Unit was launched on the basis of a Canada Revenue Agency complaint alleging that the above-noted federal employees engaged in criminal activity, including corruption. This RCMP unit is responsible for combating public sector corruption.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police invites the public to report any information on federal officials suspected of corruption and/or fraud against the federal government.