Two companies forced to pay $450,000 for illegal donations to federal parties

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OTTAWA — Two companies have been forced to pay almost $450,000 after admitting they made illegal donations to the federal Liberals and Conservatives between 2004 and 2009.

A federal elections watchdog says a Groupe AXOR Inc. executive asked some employees and their families to make donations totalling $66,237, while also offering to reimburse them.

A similar scheme happened at Axor Experts-Conseils Inc., totalling $49,721 in donations.

Both Montreal-based companies agreed to repay the improper donations, a fine and a portion of the investigative costs for the commissioner of Canada elections, who enforces national electoral laws.

Groupe AXOR paid $248,712 and Axor Experts-Conseils Inc. paid $199,163 with the money going into federal coffers, marking the first time fines beyond the sum of the donations have been imposed since election laws were changed.

In a release, the commissioner says there was no evidence the two political parties knew the donations were illegal, and both have reimbursed the almost $116,000 in illegal donations.