SNC Lavalin halts ex-CEO payments
By Helen Wright14 December 2012
Canadian contractor SNC Lavalin said it had suspended payments it had been providing to its former CEO Pierre Duhaime under his departure agreement following news that he had been arrested and charged by authorities.
Mr Duhaime was arrested in Montreal, Canada, at the end of November on charges of fraud. He resigned as CEO of the Canadian contractor in March, following revelations that he signed-off on a series of suspect payments in Libya.
In a statement, SNC Lavalin said, “The board was disturbed to learn that former president and CEO Pierre Duhaime has been charged by authorities. While none of the charges have been proven, this development suggests that there may be additional facts regarding Mr Duhaime of which the board was not aware at the time of his departure.
“Accordingly, the board of directors has decided to suspend the payments provided for under Mr Duhaime’s previously announced departure arrangements. Until the facts surrounding Mr Duhaime’s situation are clarified or resolved, the payments under these arrangements will be held separately.”
Mr Duhaime’s arrest is said to be in connection with these payments, which were requested by fellow SNC-Lavalin executive Ben Aissa. Mr Aissa has been held in prison in Switzerland since April on suspicion of corruption, fraud and money laundering in Libya.
Montreal police have filed criminal charges against both Mr Duhaime and Mr Aissa in relations to the Libyan suspect payments scandal.
SNC Lavalin re-iterated that it has and will continue to cooperate fully with on-going investigations. It added that it reserved the right to claim damages against anyone who is found to have misused or misappropriated company funds or to have abused their office – including the recovery of funds.
Meanwhile, the contractor confirmed that current CFO Gilles Laramée would assume responsibility for a new business unit as executive vice president of infrastructure, concessions and investments. A search for a new CFO is underway and Mr Laramée will continue as CFO until his replacement is in place.