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Ex-Quebec construction boss Accurso loses bid to avoid appearing at corruption probe

Tony Accurso leaves SQ headquarters in Montreal in a April 17, 2012 file photo. Accurso has lost his latest bid to avoid testifying at the the province's corruption probe. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

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Tony Accurso leaves SQ headquarters in Montreal in a April 17, 2012 file photo. Accurso has lost his latest bid to avoid testifying at the the province's corruption probe. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

MONTREAL - A former Quebec construction mogul has lost his latest bid to avoid testifying at the province's corruption probe.

Quebec's highest court has rejected Tony Accurso's appeal of a lower-court decision.

Accurso has argued that appearing before the Charbonneau Commission would jeopardize his right to a fair trial.

He faces criminal charges in several municipal corruption cases and is also charged with alleged tax fraud.

A Quebec Superior Court justice previously ruled that Accurso had not shown that his being subpoenaed to testify at the corruption probe would violate his rights to the point he should not have to appear.

Quebec Court of Appeal Justice Francois Doyon said in a judgment released Tuesday that commissioners have promised not to question Accurso about his pending criminal proceedings.

"If this is not the case, I have no doubt the Superior Court would intervene to protect the rights of the plaintiff," Doyon wrote in his ruling.

Doyon also quoted Superior Court Justice Jean-Francois Buffoni, who wrote that the commission's promise to not address the criminal proceedings "constitutes an elegant indication that the commissioners do not have the hidden agenda Mr. Accurso suggests they have."

Accurso has argued the commission has said since the Superior Court ruling that it intends to force him to identify those he welcomed aboard his yacht — named The Touch — as the commissioners know there is a link between the vessel and the alleged corruption.

Doyon also said there must be some reasonable expectation that the appeal might succeed but he did not find that in the petition on behalf of Accurso.

"In my opinion, this appeal would be doomed to failure," he wrote.

Accurso's lawyer is not ruling out an appeal to the highest court in the land.

"We're going to study the judgment and we will make a decision in the next few days on whether we will take this case to the Supreme Court," Louis Belleau said in an interview.

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