LILLEY: SNC-Lavalin and former executives charged days after federal election

Article content

It seems political in its timing, the RCMP waited until three days after the election to announce charges against two SNC-Lavalin companies and two former executives.

Advertisement

Story continues below

Article content

Despite the fact that the new charges are not related in any way to the case that saw Jody Wilson-Raybould leave cabinet, the mere mention of charges would have brought the issue back up in a serious way had they been laid during the election campaign.

In holding off on announcing the charges, the Mounties gave Justin Trudeau a break from answering questions about a company with a serious history of corruption issues.

According to the RCMP news release the charges are “related to bribes that were paid in exchange for obtaining a contract.”

The corporate entities of SNC-Lavalin Inc. and SNC-Lavalin International Inc. both face charges, as do former executives Normand Morin and Kamal Francis.

The charges include forgery, conspiracy to commit forgery, fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud, fraud against the government and conspiracy to commit fraud against the government.

Advertisement

Story continues below

Article content

Michel Fournier, the former president of the Federal Bridge Corporation, admitted in his 2017 trial that he had accepted $2.3 million in bribes in 2002 and 2003 to award SNC-Lavalin the $127 million contract to replace the decking on the Jacques Cartier Bridge. He was sentenced to 66 months in jail in 2017 and granted full parole in 2019.

Now, those allegedly behind the scam are facing charges almost two decades later.

  1. In this file photo, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a news conference on Aug. 31, 2021 in Ottawa.

    Trudeau refuses police access to documents related to SNC-Lavalin scandal

  2. The SNC-Lavalin headquarters in Montreal

    SNC Lavalin scores $150M contract for field hospitals: Report

  3. Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visits Soccer World during his election campaign tour in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, September 10, 2021.

    GOLDSTEIN: Trudeau wasn’t open or transparent in SNC-Lavalin affair

In case you thought corruption was only something that SNC-Lavalin engaged in with murderous Libyan dictators, think again. The company’s record is far from stellar and makes you wonder why Justin Trudeau was willing to sacrifice the independence of our judicial system to help them.

Advertisement

Story continues below

Article content

– In 2012, former SNC-Lavalin CEO Pierre Duhaime was arrested in a bribery scandal related to the building of the McGill University mega-hospital.

– An employee of the hospital admitted taking a $10-million bribe from the company. On Feb. 1, 2019, Duhaime pleaded guilty to a charge of helping a public servant commit breach of trust.

– In 2013, SNC-Lavalin agreed to a 10-year ban on bidding for contracts handed out by the World Bank. Terms of that agreement were not made public, but the ban was related to claims of bribery across North Africa.

– In 2015, the company was charged over bribery and fraud allegations relating to government contracts in Libya, including accusations of providing a lavish lifestyle for family members of dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

Advertisement

Story continues below

Article content

– In December 2019, the company admitted its guilt in Libya with a single charge of fraud and paid a $280 million fine over five years.

– In 2020, SNC-Lavalin admitted to “anti-competitive activities” between 2003 and 2012. The company reached a settlement with the Competition Bureau and the Public Prosecution Service of Canada to pay a fine of $1.9 million.

– In 2018, the company entered into a compliance agreement over illegal donations to political parties in Canada. A former vice president of the company, Normand Morin, pleaded guilty to two charges related to the donations.

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

Now the company is facing new charges but is likely to walk away with little more than a fine even if the charges can be proven. Quebec’s prosecutors are looking at a deferred prosecution agreement.

SNC-Lavalin is a politically connected and favoured company that has engaged in fraud, bribery and corruption in obtaining government contracts in Canada and elsewhere.

Turns out that when it comes to the justice system in Canada, it appears that it really does matter who you know.

blilley@postmedia.com

    Advertisement

    Story continues below

    Comments

    Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

    Share:

    Share on facebook
    Facebook
    Share on twitter
    Twitter
    Share on pinterest
    Pinterest
    Share on linkedin
    LinkedIn
    On Key

    Related Posts

    On AIR

    Russtrat world

    A diplomat instead of a child prodigy

    MOSCOW, 16 Oct 2021, RUSSTRAT Institute.   Formally, the current crisis in Vienna lasted no more than a weekend. On Saturday, 35-year-old Chancellor Sebastian Kurz,