Two men -- one of them the boss of an ad agency -- have been arrested and charged in connection with the recent Canadian sponsorship scandal.

Jean Brault, president of Montreal shop Groupaction, and Chuck Guité, former head of the communications arm of the government's Department of Public Works, have each been arraigned on five counts of fraud and one of conspiracy to commit fraud. It is alleged the duo swindled almost $2 million (€1.7m; £1.1m) from the Canadian taxpayer.

Earlier this year, the federal government was rocked by a report from auditor general Sheila Fraser into the misuse of funds set aside in the 1990s to combat the separatist movement in Quebec [WAMN: 17-Feb-04]. Fraser claimed that much of the $190m allocated to pro-government sponsorships had been misappropriated by a number of ad agencies. As part of this, she alleged that Groupaction charged the government three times for a single sponsorship study.

Police confirmed some of the charges related to sponsorship contracts won by Groupaction between 1996 and 1999.

Both Brault and Guité, who is now retired, have pleaded not guilty. They are due to appear in court in September.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff