Four years after the alleged offences were committed, former Mayor of Hamilton Graeme Outerbridge, Corporation Secretary Ed Benevides, businessman Michael MacLean and his wife were formally charged in Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, in connection with the multi-million dollar Par-la-Ville Road hotel plan.

Mr Outerbridge, who served as mayor from 2012 to 2015, was formally charged with corruptly agreeing to obtain property for the benefit of the MacLeans on or around October 24, 2014, by authorising the release of $15,449,858 from an escrow account at the Bank of New York into their local account.

Mr Benevides is charged with the same thing during his term as Chief Operating Officer and Corporation Secretary.

Michael MacLean, who planned to create the hotel, Mr Outerbridge and Mr Benevides were jointly charged with  dishonestly obtaining the money in the account, belonging to MIF, while the MacLeans were accused of stealing $13,749,858 belonging to MIF between October 31, 2014 and November 7, 2014.

The MacLeans were further charged with using stolen money between the same dates in 2014, knowing that it “in whole or in part directly or indirectly” represented the proceeds of criminal conduct.

The defendants were not required to enter pleas to the indictable offences, which will be dealt with in the Supreme Court.

The case was set down for the arraignment session in September.

All four defendants were released on $250,000 bail each.