Bid-Rigging conspiracy unveiled: key players face charges over highway 50 scheme
The legal noose is tightening around the necks of Richard Dionne and Richard Labelle, following the laying of criminal charges in the Court of Québec on October 25. Both men stand accused of being part of a conspiracy in 2021 to rig bids for public works on Highway 50, which has since been renamed Guy-Lafleur.
According to evidence amassed during an extensive investigation by the Competition Bureau, the two are believed to have actively conspired to distort the competitive process. They are alleged to have mutually agreed to manipulate the bids placed in reaction to a call for tenders issued by the ministère des Transports du Québec.
The charges brought against Dionne and Labelle fall under both the bid-rigging provisions of the Competition Act and the conspiracy clauses of the Criminal Code. At the time the purported conspiracy took place, Richard Dionne held the position of General Manager of Sales for Québec and Ontario at the Coco Asphalt division of Coco Paving Inc. Simultaneously, Richard Labelle functioned as the Sales Manager for Québec at Coco Asphalt.
In a statement released in connection with the charges, Matthew Boswell, the Commissioner of Competition, remarked, "Criminal conspiracies harm competition and can cause major damage to our economy. When individuals conspire to rig bids for public contracts, it is taxpayers who pay the price. We will continue to vigorously pursue all those who engage in anti-competitive activities."
The case against Dionne and Labelle is expected to continue, and further details are anticipated as the legal proceedings unfold. If found guilty, both individuals could face significant penalties, both financial and in terms of incarceration, underscoring the gravity of the alleged actions.
Photo caption: Richard Dionne and Richard Labelle face charges in the Court of Québec for alleged 2021 bid-rigging conspiracy on the now Guy-Lafleur Highway 50.
Photo credit: Tashi Farmilo