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Canada: Feds won’t negotiate plea deal with SNC-Lavalin

SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. said federal prosecutors in Canada won’t negotiate a remediation agreement to resolve criminal fraud and corruption charges related to Libya.

The Montreal-based engineering and construction company said it “stongly disagrees” with the Public Prosecution Service’s decision and may appeal.

Prosecutors charged the company in February 2015, along with two subsidiaries — SNC-Lavalin International Inc. and SNC-Lavalin Construction Inc.

An affidavit prepared by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in April 2012 tied former SNC-Lavalin executive Riadh Ben Aissa to more than $160 million in alleged bribes paid to Libyan officials in exchange for engineering contracts.

Switzerland’s federal crime court accepted a plea deal in 2014 with Ben Aissa. He had spent 29 months in a Swiss prison. Under the deal, he reportedly forfeited about $40 million in cash and property.

In 2013, the World Bank barred SNC-Lavalin from bank-funded projects for ten years because of alleged corruption in Bangladesh and Cambodia.

SNC-Lavalin said in a statement Wednesday that Canada’s law allowing remediation agreements is intended for companies that “admit wrongs, make compensation, pay fines, cooperate and help ensure the individuals responsible are held to account.”

The company said that since 2012 it has built a world-class ethics and compliance program, cooperated fully with regulatory and government authorities, changed its board, management, and key personnel, and settled class actions in Quebec and Ontario filed on behalf of security holders.


Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog.

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