Michael Applebaum, Montreal’s first Jewish mayor, has resigned following his arrest on 14 counts of corruption, saying “it is the responsible thing to do.”
Mr Applebaum, 50, told the press: “I maintain my innocence. I have every intention of continuing to fight like I always have, and I want to be clear: I have never taken a penny from anybody.”
He went on to state that “Being mayor of Montreal is not something that one can do while defending oneself against accusations of this nature,” but claimed he “always acted in the best interest of all Montrealers.”
The charges relate to “tens of thousands of dollars” allegedly taken in bribes by Mr Applebaum over the construction of two real estate projects in Montreal’s Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce borough between 2006 and 2011, while he was mayor of the borough.
Police said that “these were bribes that influenced a decision, approvals or permit distribution.”
Applebaum was elected in November 2012 by city councillors to become Montreal’s 42nd Mayor after the previous incumbent, Gérald Tremblay, resigned in the light of corruption allegations.