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Montreal hospital contract fraud suspect issues statement claiming innocence

MONTREAL - A man arrested this week in connection with the alleged $22.5 million fraud involving the awarding of Montreal's English superhospital contract is proclaiming his innocence.

St-Clair Martin Armitage issued a statement today saying he's saddened by the allegations of fraud and will vigorously defend himself.

Anti-corruption police in Quebec arrested Armitage on Tuesday at the airport in Montreal upon his arrival from England.

The British national had been sought by the 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 where 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 is facing charges similar to the others accused — conspiracy to commit fraud, fraud and breach of trust — and was freed on bail late Wednesday.

Armitage issued a statement stating that he has co-operated with police and voluntarily came to Montreal.

"I deny any wrongdoing and will continue to vigorously defend my name and reputation," he said.

"I trust that others who were involved in the bid evaluation and selection processes will also come forward to ensure that the whole truth will come out."

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