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Interim Montreal mayor quits after fraud arrest

| Tuesday, June 18, 2013, 9:30 p.m.

MONTREAL — For the second time in less than a year, a Montreal mayor has stepped down amid corruption scandals ripping through Canada's second-largest city.

Interim Mayor Michael Applebaum came into office vowing to clean up government. He resigned on Tuesday, a day after his arrest on fraud charges. Applebaum denied the accusations and said he needs to focus on fighting them.

Montreal's first English-speaking mayor in a century took over in November when Gerald Tremblay resigned amid corruption allegations. Applebaum faces 14 charges, including defrauding the government and corruption in municipal affairs.

“I want to be clear that I have never taken a penny from anybody,” Applebaum said at a news conference, where he didn't take questions.

A high-profile public inquiry in Quebec has uncovered links between the construction industry and organized crime.

Officials have offered few details on the charges against Applebaum but said they relate to real estate projects between 2006 and 2011, when he served as borough mayor.

After his arrest on Monday, local politicians and the provincial government called on him to step down.

The Quebec government urged city councilors to ensure a smooth transition as they choose someone to run the city until the next election, set for November. Applebaum had already promised not to run.

Anti-corruption officials raided City Hall in February. They also targeted offices in various boroughs, including the one Applebaum represented for many years.

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