SNC Lavalin faces Gadhafi bribery allegations

By Helen Wright28 January 2013

SNC-Lavalin building

SNC-Lavalin building

Scandal-hit contractor SNC Lavalin has been accused of paying up to CA$ 160 million (US$ 162 million) in bribes to Saadi Gadhafi, the son of former Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, in order to secure contracts in the country.

Fresh details of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s (RCMP) investigation into the contractor have been released, including claims that it was also involved in a plot to smuggle Saadi Gaddafi to Mexico using false documents.

SNC Lavalin confirmed that information that lead to an RCMP raid on its headquarters last year had now been made public.

Riadh Ben Aïssa, the former head of SNC-Lavalin's activities in Libya, was named in both allegations. Mr Aïssa was arrested in Switzerland last year as part of an investigation by the Ministère Public de la Confédération (Federal Prosecutor) into corruption, fraud and money laundering connected to North Africa.

Allegations of improper payments and conduct in Libya that have followed SNC Lavalin for the past year, and several of its former executives have been arrested, including its former CEO Pierre Duhaime.

These are the most detailed allegations to be levied against SNC Lavalin to date, and were contained in an affidavit – a sworn statement submitted to support the granting of a search warrant.

Commenting on the fresh details of the RCMP’s claims against the company, a statement from SNC Lavalin said, “We cannot determine the veracity of certain allegations in the affidavit. Affidavits contain unproven information and allegations gathered by authorities in the context of an investigation that are submitted to a judge in order to obtain a search warrant.

“We are eager for this situation to be resolved in the courts and will continue to do everything in our power to assist the authorities to get to the bottom of these issues as rapidly as possible.”

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