Analysis: SNC-Lavalin in the crosshairs of the justice

Analyse: SNC-Lavalin dans le collimateur de la justice

Photo: Julian Besset Agence France-Presse
On Friday, SNC-Lavalin has suffered a setback in his attempt to avoid a trial. The federal Court dismissed his application for review of the decision of the federal not to negotiate a repair agreement with it.


Efforts to avoid a trial at SNC-Lavalin are in the spotlight for weeks. While everything suggests that the engineering firm will have to face the justice, The Duty spoke with Jennifer Quaid, specialist criminal law firms, and Amissi Manirabona, an expert in international criminal law, to make the point on the meandering judicial of this case. Interview by Possible to Pineda.

As a company, SNC-Lavalin is facing two charges for fraud and bribery of foreign public officials for acts committed in Libya between 2001 and 2011. According to the charges laid by the RCMP in 2015, the firm would have paid nearly $ 48 million to agents libyans in order to influence the decisions of their government. The preliminary investigation should be completed at the beginning of the month of April, at which time a trial date should be set.

On Friday, SNC-Lavalin has suffered a setback in his attempt to avoid a trial. The federal Court dismissed his application for review of the decision of the federal not to negotiate a repair agreement with it.

Ce text is part of our “Outlook” section.

Several senior leaders of the giant of the engineering have been accused in this case, why SNC-Lavalin has also been pursued as a business ?

“Canadian law provides that a corporation may be continued if it is possible to prove that one or more executives within the meaning of the act, the case law has recognized that this includes mid level managers — have committed a criminal offence, that they have motivated employees to commit unlawful acts or that they have done nothing to intervene and prevent the crime,” said Ms. Quaid. The organization can be held liable if it can prove that its leaders have encouraged the company to commit crimes “.

Is this the beginning of a trial for SNC-Lavalin implies that it will not be possible to arrive at an agreement for continuation is suspended ?

“The law does not exclude that an agreement of repair to be concluded during the trial. Moreover, it remains to be seen what will be the new minister of Justice and attorney general, David Lametti, but it is certain that it is better that the agreement is entered into before the beginning of a trial, in particular because of the resources that it requires, ” says Mr. Manirabona.

“The main attraction of a prosecution agreement suspended, it is that one avoids a conviction, even on the eve of trial, the possibility of obtaining such an agreement is very attractive,” adds Quaid.

What is the impact of the holding of a trial for SNC-Lavalin ?

“In Canada, SNC-Lavalin will not be ineligible to obtain government contracts because it has a trial, but the risk that he or she became subsequently can influence the willingness of some contractors to the international long-term contracts “, said Ms. Quaid. “However, we must not lose sight of the fact that SNC-Lavalin has other problems that are commercial in nature and which have nothing to do with his trouble with the law. There are difficulties, particularly with a mining project. There are things that are wrong paths and it has nothing to do with the woes attributable to the prosecution that weighs on it and the fact that she has not been able to get a repair agreement, ” she said.

“The company is already suffering in the international […] We saw this especially with the world Bank, which has debarred SNC-Lavalin and its subsidiaries for a period of ten years [in connection with alleged conspiracy of corruption in Bangladesh, and a professional misconduct related to a project in Cambodia],” says Mr. Manirabona.

What are the risks of a trial in relation to the agreement of lawsuit suspended ?

“The trial is likely to be very long. This is a folder where a lot of the evidence comes from abroad, there is talk of corruption over ten years, and there are no guarantees for the Crown to arrive at a guilty verdict “, said Ms. Quaid.

“Contrary to what people think, the agreement of repair, this is not an amnesty, it is an alternative treatment of the economic crime “, said Mr. Manirabona.

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