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New arrest in SNC-Lavalin case

The former head of a Montreal hospital was arrested in Panama Monday on an Interpol warrant charging him with fraud.

Arthur Porter is suspected of taking kickbacks from Canadian engineering giant SNC-Lavalin, according to a report by AFP.

Porter resigned ‘abruptly’ from the McGill University hospital in 2011, AFP said, ‘and was later traced to the Bahamas.’

The charges against Porter include fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud, AFP said.

SNC-Lavalin reportedly paid $22 million in bribes for a contract to build the new $2.4 billion McGill University Health Center.

The company is also suspected of paying bribes in Africa and Asia. In April, it was barred from World Bank-funded projects for ten years because of alleged corruption in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Libya, and Algeria.

In November 2012, Canadian police arrested SNC-Lavalin’s former CEO Pierre Duhaime for fraud and forgery.

Canadian police in June also arrested SNC-Lavalin executives Ramesh Shah and and Mohammad Ismail and charged them with bribing officials in Bangladesh.

Another former top executive, Ben Aïssa, faces fraud and corruption charges. An affidavit prepared by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police tied him more than $160 million in alleged bribes to the son of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in exchange for engineering contracts.

This week, SNC-Lavalin announced an amnesty program to encourage employees to come forward with information about corruption at the company. The amnesty excludes top executives and anyone who directly profited from misconduct, according to Reuters.

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