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

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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.


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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.


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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.

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  2. The SNC-Lavalin headquarters in Montreal

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

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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.


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– 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.


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– 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.

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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.


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