The controversy surrounding the multi-million dollar site for the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, Canada, heightened on tuesday (25 November) when Quebec province police began a series of raids on the homes and offices of top officials connected with the construction of the Olympic Village project.
SV Joseph Zappia, President of Les Terraces Zarolega, on right, with other construction workers and officials
SCU Zappia and officials inaugurate construction
SCU Zappia helping to launch Olympic stamp project (3 shots)
GVs ZOOM IN AND OUT Police car and van outside Olympic Village building (3 shots)
SCU Rousseau speaking at news conference
GV Olympic village with construction workers on site (3 shots)
ROUSSEAU: "Well, this is why I'm not presuming anything. Well the thing is, you know, the first thing you have to do in an (indistinct) governmental organisation like ours is to keep your hands absolutely clean. And they are clean as far as I know. If they find something, we'll see."
The controversy surrounding the site for the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, Canada, heightened on Tuesday after police began a series of raids on the offices and homes of top construction officials following allegations of fraud and corruption. Also raided were the Montreal headquarters of COJO, the Olympic Organising Committees. One of the men from whom documents were seized was Joseph Zappia. Ron Laplante reports:
"The man on the right is Joseph Zappia, President of Les Terraces Zarolega, the firm developing and building the Village project. From the turning of the first sod, it's been going very well, construction comfortably ahead of schedule.
"Mr. Zappia's also active in other olympic projects. Just eleven days ago, he helped launch an Olympic stamp programme. It's a programme designed to bring in about ten million dollars to help defray Olympic costs.
"Intervention by the law today tarnished one of the bright parts in the Olympic programme. The order to investigate what is termed conspiracy to defraud COJO is said to come from the highest provincial government level. Kick-backs and inflated contracts running into the millions are suspected. Here's COJO's reaction:"
"It's believed there are big-name silent partners involved. The government was ready to move in four months ago, but -- it's said -- decided to wait until construction was so advanced that completion could not be in doubt. So there's no worry about finishing on time. This project has been called the Olympic miracle, but the operative words tonight are not Olympic miracle but rather, Olympic fraud. Ron Laplante, CBC News, Montreal."
Film also includes library footage of consortium president Joseph Zappia and the Olympic Village project, complete with an English narration by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reporter Ron Laplante. A transcript follows overleaf.
REPORTER: RON LAPLANTE
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The controversy surrounding the multi-million dollar site for the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, Canada, heightened on tuesday (25 November) when Quebec province police began a series of raids on the homes and offices of top officials connected with the construction of the Olympic Village project.
A special strike force of 150 men seized large numbers of documents from the Montreal headquarters of COJO, the Olympic Organising Committee, and the homes of executives of les Terraces Zarolega -- the consortium handling contracts for the Village project -- including company President Joseph Zappia.
The police move followed allegations made earlier this year that fraud and corruption were involved in the awarding of contracts.
After more raids on Wednesday, a police spokesman said that it might take months before their investigations were complete, but arrest warrants would be sought if evidence of criminal activity was uncovered. He also said police would be investigating two Montreal concrete companies which received bonuses for more than one million dollars for early completion of work.
The 90-million dollar (43 million pounds sterling) Olympic Village has been described as the Olympic miracle for the speed of its building. Unofficial sources in Montreal have suggested that the Quebec provincial government postponed the raids on construction officials until they were certain completion would be according to schedule.
The provincial government took over complete control of the Olympic construction from the city of Montreal last week, after cost estimates had tripled to around 1,000 million dollars (476 million pounds sterling) -- according to Quebec watchdog committee chairman, Fernand Lalonde.
Despite the latest scandal, the President of the Olympic Organising Committee, Roger Rousseau is confident COJO has nothing to hide. Part of his speech to Montreal newsmen appears on film, and a transcript follows: