MONTREAL – A witness who has delivered bombshell testimony at Quebec’s corruption inquiry is admitting he told a lie on the stand.
Gilles Cloutier returned to Quebec’s corruption inquiry this morning with a message: that although he had testified that he was the owner of a home in Quebec’s Charlevoix region he was, in fact, renting it.
The former political organizer admitted that he lied about owning a house used to entertain clients for Roche, an engineering firm.
He chalked it up to a misplaced sense of pride.
A lawyer representing the Parti Quebecois seized on that to launch a sustained attack on Cloutier’s credibility this morning.
Estelle Tremblay noted that Cloutier not only lied about owning the home, but also about fictitious real-estate transactions involving the property.
Under fire, Cloutier insisted the rest of his testimony had been accurate.
He had made waves at the inquiry with an insider’s account of how the construction industry used its political connections to manipulate the procurement process, and even rig municipal elections. Some of his testimony was also embarrassing for the PQ.
He is not the first high-profile witness to recant a detail from his testimony.
Martin Dumont, whose testimony helped bring down the mayor of Montreal, has also admitted to making up an anecdote. But, as with Cloutier, he is sticking to the rest of his story.
Cloutier was a former political organizer who worked in business development for major Quebec engineering firms Roche and Dessau.
The corruption inquiry is resuming today after a one-week break.