What the SNC board may have known about the firm’s dealings in Libya — like the office safe with $10M cash

 

Corruption? Justin Trudeau has always stated that he was trying to protect the jobs of SNC-Lavalin employees and that obtaining a deferred prosecution agreement for the company was essential. Now it seems that there may as well have been a very different motive–protecting the 1% from liability. The NDP has called for a public enquiry to get to the truth. Your MP needs to know how you feel.

High-paid former directors could face tough questions if SNC-Lavalin bribery trial goes ahead


The SNC-Lavalin board in 2011. From top left: Ian A. Bourne, David Goldman, Patricia A. Hammick, Pierre H. Lessard, Edythe A. Parkinson-Marcoux and Lorna R. Marsden. From bottom left: Claude Mongeau, Gwyn Morgan, Michael D. Parker, Hugh D. Segal, Pierre Duhaime, Lawrence N. Stevenson. (SNC-Lavalin/CBC)

There’s no question that millions of dollars in bribes were paid to the Gadhafi regime in Libya to win lucrative contracts for SNC-Lavalin.

The former head of the company’s global construction arm admitted to bribery, corruption and money laundering in 2014. He pleaded guilty in a Swiss court.

But the Quebec-based engineering firm has long insisted that Riadh Ben Aïssa was acting alone and in secret.

Ben Aïssa has a very different story to tell. He is back in Canada after having spent more than two years in prison in Switzerland. He has turned on his former executives and board of directors and has been co-operating with police and prosecutors.

SNC-Lavalin has been lobbying hard behind the scenes to secure what’s called a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) to avoid going to trial. The company, as well as its supporters in government, argue thousands of jobs are at risk if it is convicted and barred from bidding on federal contracts.

But a CBC News investigation reveals why 12 top directors who left the company years ago also have plenty at stake if the case goes to trial. SNC-Lavalin’s former board is an influential who’s who of the corporate elite that includes former senators, banking executives and members of the Order of Canada. They will all likely face close — and very public — scrutiny if called to testify about whether they knew of any corruption happening on their watch.

The board at the time comprised luminaries of the corporate world, including Sen. Hugh Segal, former senator and Liberal Party executive Lorna Marsden, four members of the Order of Canada, and heavyweights from the banking, energy and railways sectors.

  MORE

The hidden key to the SNC-Lavalin scandal


Left: Muammar Gaddafi in Addis Abeba on February 2, 2009, photo by Jesse B. on Wikimedia Commons. Right: File photo of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau by Alex Tétreault

SNC-Lavalin, a Canadian corporate giant with an established history of corruption, is charged with bribing the Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s brutal regime over many years, in exchange for lucrative contracts.

This case is the most serious and important prosecution of corporate corruption in modern Canadian history, and we’re arguing about jobs and whether former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould is hard to get along with.

It is not only appropriate, but essential that this matter go to trial in an open and public hearing, so that Canadians can see how the world’s bloodiest tyrants are cossetted, indulged, and enabled.

Perhaps the most depressing spectacle of the entire affair is watching Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a man who clearly aspires to greatness, debase himself and this nation, by begging, pushing, imploring Canada’s attorney general to let this company off the hook.

Then effectively firing her when she wouldn’t comply, and allowing her credibility to be undermined.

Just what kind of story does he think SNC-Lavalin’s caught up in, Anne of Green Gables? MORE

RELATED:

Judge mulls whether SNC-Lavalin to face trial as preliminary inquiry ends
Terence Corcoran: Nothing about the SNC-Lavalin scandal will ever be clear until we open its black box

 

SNC-Lavalin warned of U.S. move, slashing workforce if no plea deal, documents show

SNC-Lavalin warned federal prosecutors in the fall of 2018 about a possible plan to split the company in two, move its offices to the United States and eliminate its Canadian workforce. File photo by The Canadian Press

SNC-Lavalin warned federal prosecutors last fall about a possible plan to split the company in two, move its offices to the United States and eliminate its Canadian workforce if it didn’t get a deal to avoid criminal prosecution, newly obtained documents show.

The documents, part of a PowerPoint presentation obtained by The Canadian Press, describe something called “Plan B” — what Montreal-based SNC might have to do if it can’t convince the government to grant a so-called remediation agreement to avoid criminal proceedings in a fraud and corruption case related to projects in Libya.

Under that plan, SNC would move its Montreal headquarters and corporate offices in Ontario and Quebec to the U.S. within a year, cutting its workforce to just 3,500 from 8,717, before eventually winding up its Canadian operations.

The company’s board and senior management were prepared to quickly bundle parts of the business that had no role in the Libya case into a new entity, putting the “trio of possibly convicted entities” into another organization that would operate “on a reduced business level in Canada or heading into eventual wind-up,” they read.

The presentation, which was delivered by mail to The Canadian Press anonymously and without a return address, also suggests the end of seven-figure donations and sponsorships for various community causes, hundreds of millions more in lost tax revenues, and the loss of spending on research positions at universities. MORE

Monopoly-Friendly Canada ‘Does Not Treat Competition Policy Seriously’

John Pecman on why it’s time to beef up the Competition Bureau he led.

JohnPecman.jpg
Former Competition Bureau commissioner John Pecman notes a federal election is looming: ‘What better way of targeting the middle class or consumers than saying there’s going to be a review of the Competition Act, given the growing concern about corporate concentration?’

Canadians like to believe they live in one of the most sophisticated free-market economies in the world. Don’t tell that to John Pecman. Until May of last year, Pecman was commissioner of the Competition Bureau, the agency responsible for enforcing laws against anti-competitive practices in the Canadian marketplace.

After he stepped down in September 2018, he published an article in the Canadian Competition Law Review that called for reforms to give the bureau more power to check corporate concentration, including added independence by separating it from the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.

In a phone interview with The Tyee last week, Pecman elaborated, saying that federal laws governing corporate competition reflect Canada’s outdated view of itself as primarily a resource exporter and otherwise unable to compete with the big U.S. economy next door.

This led to laws favouring corporate consolidation in the name of “efficiency” over promoting competition or the interests of consumers.

…When it comes to not just studying market concentration but moving to break it up, says Pecman, Canada is “so far behind other western economies on this front. The fact that the country does not treat competition policy seriously is just a great disappointment to someone who has spent his entire life working in this area.” MORE

When all else fails, blame women for the SNC-Lavalin scandal…

When all else fails, blame women for the SNC-Lavalin scandal…

In a recent op-edOttawa Citizen columnist Andrew Cohen blames the fallout from the SNC-Lavalin (SNC-L) affair on two women: Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott. According to Cohen, their impulsiveness, disloyalty, and short-sightedness “have put the achievements of the Trudeau government at real risk.”

By tarnishing the Liberal brand, these women have ruined everything.

While searching in earnest for scapegoats, Cohen forgot to mention the real villains in this soap opera.

SNC-L has never really warmed up to the “sunny ways” approach. The company has been debarred for 10 years by the World Bank, forbidden to bid on global projects as a result of high-level corruption in Bangladesh in 2009-2010.

Moreover, SNC-L faces charges of fraud and corruption in connection with nearly $48 million in payments made to Libyan government officials between 2001-2011. This does not include the $1.95 million spent on booze, nude dancers, porn stars and sex workers to spoil Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi’s son, Saadi, when he was invited to Canada in 2008 by SNC-L.  MORE

Companies like SNC-Lavalin must be monitored for shady donations across Canada, B.C. watchdog says

VANCOUVER—As another scandal plays out in Ottawa, government watchdog groups are calling for wider scrutiny of SNC-Lavalin’s activities in jurisdictions like British Columbia, where the company donated to the ruling political party at the same time it was being awarded large public infrastructure contracts.

However, the watchdog groups also argue that the evidence and allegations of corruption against the Quebec engineering firm demonstrate why all corporate donations need stronger rules and regular audits.


Quebec’s Charbonneau Commission, which concluded in 2014, found that many companies, including SNC-Lavalin, regularly bribed politicians to get government contracts.  (ADRIAN WYLD / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

“It’s essentially a form of legalized bribery,” said Duff Conacher, founder of Ottawa-based Democracy Watch, referring to lax rules allowing corporations that benefit from political decisions to donate to political parties.

For years, Democracy Watch has advocated campaign finance limits because of the risk that large donors can wield oversized influence on politicians who start to feel more beholden to the wealthy people, corporations and unions that fund their campaigns than to the wider electorate.

Though Quebec, British Columbia and the federal government have lowered donation limits and banned union and corporate donations, companies have found ways around those regulations. Conacher said the rules end up being a “charade” without regular audits. MORE

SNC-Lavalin announced confidential deal with feds, four days after Trudeau’s first throne speech in 2015

File photo of a light rail construction site at LeBreton Flats in Ottawa in 2017. SNC-Lavalin was a lead partner for Stage 1 of the city’s LRT project, which has been repeatedly delayed. Photo by Alex Tétreault

Four days after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals opened their first session of Parliament with a throne speech in 2015, the federal government entered into a new confidential deal with SNC-Lavalin.

The Quebec construction and engineering giant touted the deal in December of that year, noting that it would allow it to continue scoring lucrative public contracts with the federal government. But to this day, the details and content of this deal remain a secret.

The agreement is different from the deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) that former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould has testified she was improperly pressured into pursuing by the prime minister, his senior officials and the country’s top public servant.

Both agreements are meant to address the fraud and corruption charges hanging over the Montreal-based engineering firm. But while Wilson-Raybould’s replacement, David Lametti, is still considering offering a DPA, the administrative agreement was long ago successfully enacted. It remains on the books, more than three years later.

SNC-Lavalin also entered into a voluntary compliance agreement with the Commissioner of Canada Elections in 2016, in relation to a political contributions scheme that broke federal election financing laws.

The company agreed that “certain former senior executives” helped funnel $83,534 to the Liberal Party, another $13,552 to Liberal riding associations and $12,529 to 2006 party leadership hopefuls, along with $3,137 to the Conservative Party of Canada and $5,050 to Tory candidates and ridings. MORE

 

HOT GARBAGE GRIFTERS: SNC-LAVALIN’S PLAN TO TURN NUCLEAR WASTE INTO LONG-TERM GOLD

Jeangagnon/Wikimedia Commons

On the anniversary of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, investigative journalist Paul McKay reveals that the trade in radioactive waste is becoming a lucrative opportunity for SNC-Lavalin and its U.S. partner.

If it is true that one person’s garbage can be another’s gold, then Montreal-based multinational SNC-Lavalin and its new U.S. partner, Holtec International, plan to be big global players in what promises to be a very lucrative, long-term business: handling highly radioactive nuclear wastes until permanent disposal methods and sites might be found, approved, and built.

That problem is pressing because the volume of spent reactor fuel is cresting in the U.S., Canada, Europe, China, India, Russia, and Japan. There are also hundreds of intensively contaminated reactors which must sooner or later be entombed, dismantled, chopped up by robots, then sent in special, sealed containers to interim storage sites somewhere.

But no country in the world has yet found a proven, permanent solution for the 250 million kilograms of spent fuel now in limbo in storage pools and canisters, let alone the atomic furnaces which created them. There are now about 413 operable civilian reactors in 31 countries, and another 50 under construction.

So it bears examining just who is taking charge of the most dangerous garbage on Earth. Enter SNC-Lavalin and Holtec International. MORE

The hidden key to the SNC-Lavalin scandal


Left: Muammar Gaddafi in Addis Abeba on February 2, 2009, photo by Jesse B. on Wikimedia Commons. Right: File photo of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau by Alex Tétreault

SNC-Lavalin, a Canadian corporate giant with an established history of corruption, is charged with bribing the Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s brutal regime over many years, in exchange for lucrative contracts.

This case is the most serious and important prosecution of corporate corruption in modern Canadian history, and we’re arguing about jobs and whether Jody Wilson-Raybould is hard to get along with.

It is not only appropriate, but essential that this matter go to trial in an open and public hearing, so that Canadians can see how the world’s bloodiest tyrants are cossetted, indulged, and enabled.

Perhaps the most depressing spectacle of the entire affair is watching Justin Trudeau, a man who clearly aspires to greatness, debase himself and this nation, by begging, pushing, imploring Canada’s attorney general to let this company off the hook. Then effectively firing her when she wouldn’t comply, and allowing her credibility to be undermined. MORE

SNC-Lavalin: Did Justin Trudeau break the law?

Analysis: On its face, Trudeau is accused of the same malfeasance attributed to Trump — meddling in the wheels of justice for political gain

Justin Trudeau and Donald Trump. CP/AP

It’s increasingly clear that Canada isn’t particularly happy with Justin Trudeau for allegedly trying to interfere with the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin. As Jane Philpott said upon her resignation from cabinet on Monday, “the solemn principles at stake are the independence and integrity of our justice system.”

Solemn principles are one thing, but did Trudeau break the law?

Below, the National Post bothered a bunch of legal experts to find out.

MORE