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Robert Lafrenière, head of Quebec’s anti-corruption unit, steps down

Former UPAC Commissioner Robert Lafreniere was behind sensitive leaks to journalists in order to pressure the government at the time to renew his mandate as head of the anti-corruption squad. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

The director of Quebec’s anti-corruption squad has resigned from his post.

UPAC spokesperson Mathieu Delisle confirmed that Robert Lafrenière will be leaving on Nov. 2, but provided no other details.

Lafrenière has led UPAC since 2011, when it was created by then-minister of public security Robert Dutil.

READ MORE: Couillard defends Liberal candidate who allegedly leaked info to rivals

In 2016, Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux announced Lafrenière had been reappointed in 2016. His mandate was supposed to end in 2021.

The resignation comes after an announcement made on Friday by Quebec’s office of criminal prosecutions that UPAC would ultimately not have access to property seized last year during Liberal MNA Guy Ouellete’s arrest, who the unit suspected of leaking information to media.

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READ MORE: Guy Ouellette testifies in corruption trial

In September, Coalition Avenir Québec leader François Legault, said he wanted to review the work of the heads of the Sûreté du Québec, the Montreal police department and UPAC. Legault added that Lafrenière had not been voted into his post by a two-thirds majority of the National Assembly.

In December 2017, an internal report on work relations within UPAC was leaked to media. It revealed that the UPAC’s business integrity verification unit, led at the time by Marcel Forget, was damaged by conflicting relationships, palpable tensions and a lack of employee confidence in management.

READ MORE: Allegations of collusion in anti-corruption unit unfounded: auditor general

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