MONTREAL – Former hockey tough guy Georges Laraque is bowing out of a byelection and his role as deputy leader of the federal Green Party so he can fight fraud charges.
Laraque had originally planned to contest the byelection in a Montreal-area riding but announced the change of heart after spending the day reflecting with his family and campaign team.
The vegan animal-rights activist insists he is innocent of all charges.
Green party Leader Elizabeth May says she has full confidence in Laraque and accepts his resignation with regret.
Media reported earlier this year that police near Montreal raided Laracque’s home in search of documents related to the Super-Glide synthetic ice venture.
Laraque confirmed in an interview Wednesday night that the criminal charges are related to two transactions worth a total of $120,000. He said the accusations stem from a dispute with engineer Marc Filion, who co-founded the company with him in 2009.
Before his career as an activist and politician, the 36-year-old Laraque played for four NHL teams between 1997 and 2010 and was best-known for his fighting skills.