QUEBEC — A former Quebec cabinet minister who was investigated last year for allegations of influence-peddling announced Thursday he's leaving politics.
Sam Hamad wiped tears from his eyes as he told reporters he was quitting because he'd accomplished enough in his political career.
"After 14 years at the service of Quebecers and Quebec, I humbly feel like I've given back and represented my fellow citizens with dignity and to the best of my abilities," he told a news conference in Quebec City.
Hamad, 58, quit cabinet last year amid allegations he helped a horticultural company that was trying to get a government grant.
He also relinquished his role as Quebec treasury board president but continued to sit as a Liberal member of the legislature.
His resignation is effective immediately.
The ethics commissioner launched an investigation into Hamad after Radio-Canada claimed he may have passed strategic information to help advance the business interests of Premier Tech, a horticultural firm that was looking to obtain a government grant in 2012.
In a report published last June, the commissioner found Hamad's actions had flouted the basic rules of the parliamentary ethics code, but did not recommend he face sanctions.
On Thursday, Hamad continued to deny any wrongdoing.
He grew emotional as he recalled coming to Quebec from Syria with "only two suitcases" and said he was proud of his long career in politics.
"My head is high, I have nothing to reproach myself about and I'm happy with everything I've done," he said.
"The only flaw I can be taken to task for is that when I have an idea and I think there's a good reason to help my fellow citizens, I push to the maximum to help my citizens. And that, I don't regret."
Hamad was first elected to Quebec's legislature in 2003 and held a number of cabinet posts including transport and labour.
The Canadian Press