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Anti-corruption police nab Montreal hospital contract fraud suspect at airport

MONTREAL - Anti-corruption police in Quebec have arrested a sixth person sought in the $22.5 million alleged fraud stemming from the awarding of a Montreal superhospital contract.

St-Clair Martin Armitage will appear in a Montreal courtroom on Wednesday after turning himself in to police at the airport.

The British national had been sought by the province's anti-corruption unit, known as UPAC, since May 8 in connection with the awarding of the contract to build the $1.3 billion McGill University Health Centre.

The lucrative contract, finalized in 2010, is the subject of an alleged fraud involving former hospital officials and former executives with Quebec engineering giant SNC-Lavalin.

Ex-SNC-Lavalin executives are accused of funnelling money to former McGill hospital officials Arthur Porter and Yanai Elbaz in exchange for the contract.

Armitage was placed under arrest on Tuesday after arriving on a plane from England.

Police said he'll appear in court on Wednesday — the sixth of eight people to appear before a judge in connection with the case.

He's facing charges similar to the others accused — conspiracy to commit fraud, fraud and breach of trust.

Authorities are still working to return controversial former hospital boss Arthur Porter and former SNC-Lavalin executive Riadh Ben Aissa to Canada.

Ben Aissa remains detained in Switzerland on separate charges of corruption, fraud and money-laundering in North Africa.

Porter is challenging extradition to Canada from a Panamanian prison.

Others who have already been charged are former SNC-Lavalin president Pierre Duhaime; Elbaz and his brother Yohann; Pamela Porter, Arthur Porter's wife; and Jeremy Morris, the administrator of a Bahamas-based investment company Sierra Asset Management.

Armitage was hired by the McGill hospital authority as an expert on private-public partnerships.

The awarding of the contract was also the subject of a lengthy examination by Quebec's corruption inquiry earlier this year.

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