SNC-Lavalin Corruption Troubles Escalate

RETA SNC-Lavalin logo on lawn recent imageThe international corruption investigations into Quebec-based SNC-Lavalin continue and are rising to new heights. (SNC-Lavalin is building the Heartland Transmission Project and Western Alberta Transmission Line together with AltaLink, its subsidiary.)

An RCMP affidavit recently made public alleges that the former SNC VP, Riadh Ben Aissa, “masterminded an intricate system for rewarding Saadi Gadhafi with more than $160 million in bribes in exchange for engineering contracts in Libya” (Globe and Mail). The Globe article continues, “These RETA corruption imageallegations are contained in a 59-page affidavit police used to obtain a search warrant they executed on SNC’s corporate headquarters in Montreal in April, 2012, as part of a sweeping criminal investigation under Canada’s foreign bribery law that involves police in this country and anti-corruption investigators in Switzerland. The fortune that was allegedly funnelled to Saadi Gadhafi was used, in part, to buy two yachts, pay condo fees and renovate his luxury Toronto penthouse at a price tag of $200,000. One of the yachts, a champagne-coloured vessel known as the Hokulani, is 150 feet and features a private movie theatre. The lavish gifts and payments were meant to help SNC land contracts in Libya…”

“The affidavit also shows that the RCMP suspects Mr. (Stephane) Roy, one of Mr. Ben Aissa’s juniors (at SNC), took part in an alleged scheme to extract Saadi Gadhafi and his family from Libya during the height of that country’s revolution in 2011. Since November, 2011, a Canadian mediator, Cynthia Vanier, has been incarcerated in Mexico on allegations that she conspired to smuggle Mr. Gadhafi to the resort town of Puerto Vallarta.”

Meanwhile, Riadh Ben Aissa’s brother, Dr. Rafik Ben Aissa, continues to claim that his brother was only following SNC-Lavalin orders and is a political scapegoat. Dr. Ben Aissa wrote in an email, “He all along followed the instructions of the SNC-Lavalin’s board of trustees and was named as a model employee and even a legend in the SNC-Lavalin’s history book.” (National Post)

CBC News recently reports, “Canadian mediator Cyndy Vanier says Canadian engineering firm SNC-Lavalin still owes her a lot of money for her work in Libya during the civil war in RETA Gadhafi photo2011, despite charges and RCMP conclusions that the work was really a plot to smuggle members of the Gadhafi clan to a secret life in Mexico. ‘I had a legal contract with SNC, they should honour their contract,’ Vanier told CBC News in an exclusive interview from the prison in Chetumal, Mexico, where she’s been held since her arrest in Mexico City on Nov. 10, 2011. She and three co-accused face potentially lengthy prison terms if convicted of conspiring to fly Saadi Gadhafi, the son of Libya’s former dictator, and his family to Mexico, using forged identification and fake identities.”

With respect to SNC activities in Canada, The Canadian Press recently reports, “A number of major engineering firms – including global giant SNC-Lavalin – participated in a collusion scheme to raise the price of construction projects in Quebec, the head of one company testified Thursday at a provincial inquiry. The incendiary testimony of Michel LaLonde suggested that big, even publicly traded, engineering firms were complicit in the cartellike practices previously ascribed to lower-level construction companies in that province.”

The unethical business practices by SNC-Lavalin, as exemplified by recent charges and arrests of senior SNC executives, including former CEO Pierre Duhaime and VP Riadh Ben Aissa, appear to have a long history. The Financial Post recently reports, “Not too long ago, then head of Montreal-based SNC-Lavalin Jacques Lamarre was basking in the glory of turning a Canadian company into a global success story. Today, the engineering giant’s reputation is in tatters amid allegations of bribery at home and abroad. Authorities are focused on actions taken after Lamarre retired in 2009, but the culture he built while delivering shareholders a 1,486% return during 13 years at the helm has been called into question.”

“In the early ’80s, Lamarre was an executive with Lavalin, an engineering firm that was later acquired by rival SNC in 1991. Lavalin had a tough time winning contracts in Algeria until it successfully built a revolutionary monument designed to commemorate the nation’s 20th anniversary of independence. The client was a military commandant…” Subsequently, Lavalin jumped through some regulatory hoops to secure two polar bears for the Algerian client. Although no bear was apparently ever shipped because a proper facility was not built, the author of the Financial Post article writes, “Lamarre laughed when first telling me about his polar bear story, which clearly would have run afoul of SNC-Lavalin’s current code of ethics since it rules out gifts that could be seen as an attempt to influence, not to mention ones that could simply embarrass the company.”

Many of our website followers have contacted us asking why a company like SNC-Lavalin, amid Canadian and numerous international corruption investigations, including the arrest of several former senior executives, can be allowed to continue working in Alberta on projects like the Heartland Transmission Project and the Western Alberta Transmission Line, among many others. See this link and Making Money by Making Friends for more information on SNC-Lavalin and AltaLink, a wholly-owned subsidiary of SNC-Lavalin.

~ by RETA on February 11, 2013.

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