SNC-Lavalin built Gaddafi’s son $25M yacht from scratch according to court testimony
After inking a multimillion-dollar contract with Libya in 2007, then-SNC-Lavalin executive Riadh Ben Aissa toured a luxury boat show in Cannes, France with North African dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s son Saadi, a Quebec Superior Court jury heard on Monday.
Ben Aissa is the Crown’s star witness in the bribery and corruption trial of former SNC-Lavalin executive vice-president Sami Bebawi.
Conservative leader Andrew Scheer is calling PM Trudeau to recall Parliament just five days after Trudeau is expected to announce his cabinet.
According to the CBC, Scheer made the demand a day before the two leaders were supposed to meet.
Simon Jefferies, the spokesperson for Andrew Scheer, said Parliament should reconvene to address growing divisions in the country coupled with an economic downturn in the energy sector.
“Trudeau can’t keep running scared from testing the confidence of the House,” said Jefferies. “We need to roll up our sleeves and get to work on behalf of Canadians.”
Jefferies said Scheer would try to convince Trudeau for certain priorities to be included in his throne speech. They’ll be based on the Conservatives’ priorities for the new Parliament.
Priorities include “keeping Canada united and strong,” “helping Canadians get ahead,” “restoring ethics and accountability in government,” and “getting the energy sector back to work.”
The Liberals won 157 seats this election, enough to form a minority government; the Conservatives came second with 121 MPs.
Trudeau has said he will reveal his new cabinet on November 20 but hasn’t announced when he plans to recall Parliament.
During a meeting in Ottawa, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister gave some “friendly advice” to Justin Trudeau. Pallister told Trudeau that there was growing frustration in western Canada has towards Ottawa, according to the CBC.
In their meeting, the two leaders discussed a range of issues that came up during the election campaign. This included climate change and indigenous issues, as well as western alienation. Speaking to the CBC, Pallister stated that “there’s some great frustration with the lack of progress, not just on pipelines, but on other things.”
After the election, a deep frustration with Ottawa turned quickly into a separatist movement. This was blamed on the Liberal party, who due to a series of policy decisions, did not pick up a single seat in Alberta. Parts of British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba have also been vocal in their frustration with Trudeau’s government.
Pallister was critical of Trudeau’s carbon tax and other policies designed to hinder the Canadian oil and gas sector. This has been a deeply contentious topic in the prairies, especially due to the recession that was triggered as a result of Trudeau’s pipeline bungle.
Unlike the Saskatchewan and Alberta premiers, Pallister has not threatened to rip up the equalization agreement.
Counsel for former SNC-Lavalin vice-president Sami Bebawi, on trial for charges related to business dealings in Libya, attempted to poke holes in the Crown’s star witness’s story about events involving the now-failed North African state and its deceased dictator.
Bebawi has pleaded not guilty to eight charges including fraud, corruption, money laundering, and bribery of foreign officials, including notorious Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi and his playboy son Saadi.
After four days of testimony under Crown examination, Ben Aissa, who copped a related plea deal in exchange for his cooperation, told the court during day one of the defence’s cross that he tried to get the Canadian government to assist with delinquent accounts involving multi-million dollar contracts.
On Monday, Ben Aissa told the jury that Bebawi leaned on him hard to recoup cash any way possible after SNC-Lavalin was not getting paid by the Gaddafi regime for a multi-million dollar contract arranged in the early 2000s.
Wednesday, Bebawi testified that before he set up a shell company in British Virgin Islands where 50 percent of this outstanding cash was funnelled before being divvied between players, including Gaddafi, he asked the Canadian government for help.
Ben Aissa had previously testified that 50 percent of this money was funnelled to Duval Securities Inc. that he registered in the British Virgin Islands, then divvied up between the players, including Gaddafi.
The Crown said it intends to prove that SNC-Lavalin ultimately transferred more than $113 million to this offshore company.
The jury has also heard from Ben Aissa that cultivating a relationship to ensure a steady stream of contracts for the Quebec-based, global engineering firm, involved a luxury yacht shopping trip in 2007 with Saadi Gaddafi in the South of France.
According to Bebawi, SNC-Lavalin eventually contracted an American ship building to construct a custom $25 million boat Muammar’s son.
As reported by Postmedia on Wednesday, defence lawyer Alexandre Bien-Aimé disputed many of Ben Aissa’s claims, including whether a key meeting with Bebawi in Cairo where the boss allegedly pressured to recoup the cash, unconcerned about the method.
Bien-Aimé also questioned Ben Aissa’s explanation of how the circumstances surrounding his first contact with Gadhafi and how involved Bebawi was with SNC-Lavalin’s business in Libya.
After years of Elizabeth May saying that she would never run outside of Nova Scotia, the Green Party Leader packed her bags and moved to Vancouver Island. The Green Party apparatus, in those days composed of hippies and homeopaths, believed vehemently that the island would be the epicentre of where a “green wave” would be triggered; the faultline of where their leader would change Canada forever.
Pundits happily bought into these prophecies. And so, for the next eleven years, the Canadian public was subjected to the shaky, crackpot premonitions of commentators and May. This wave never materialized, and now in 2019, May has resigned as the leader of the Green Party with the hope (God forbid) of becoming the speaker. In retrospect, it is perfectly obvious why the climate Christ never delivered on these expectations.
This becomes clear through a brief glance at the Green’s results. In 2008, for example, the Green party failed to win a single seat, despite winning their largest share of the popular vote. Or take 2011, where the Green’s vote was sliced in half, although this time the compost crusader actually managed to win her seat. The only “breakthrough” that ever occurred was in 2019— for the first time ever, a Green MP was elected east of the Rockies, 13 years after May first became leader.
May, naturally, celebrated the results of the 2019 election in the style of Justin Trudeau: jubilant and utterly lacking in any circumspection. The other Green MPs were refreshingly contrite. Jennica Atwin, for instance, told The Post Millennial that she “was surprised more than anything else, I thought there were a few ridings that were guaranteed … it would have been nice to have a bigger caucus.”
Some point to the Green’s results as a symbol of May’s dogged determination. It is far more grounded, however, to dig up that rather overused cliche about madness: “trying the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” At the very least, it is evidence of the party’s stagnation.
May’s failure is especially poignant when considering the background of the 2019 election. Hundreds of thousands of Canadians had marched on the streets of our cities to demand better environmental policy, and Greta Thunberg received deafening and entirely unscrutinized coverage. Even in the provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba, 30 percent of those asked stated that the environment was their top priority in the election.
In an age like this, it is remarkable that May’s Green Party failed to convert any significant number of these people into Green voters. May has naturally shrugged off responsibility for this, pointing the finger at our “unjust” electoral system. But surely, in one of the most environmentally conscious countries on the planet, the Green Party leader should have achieved more than three elected candidates.
The Green Party’s failure to capitalize on this lies squarely at the feet of their leader. May would have us believe that it is first-past-the-post that stunted the Green’s development, but it is difficult to blame the electoral system for the public’s total refusal to accept the Greens as a serious party.
Much of this derives from May’s willingness to accept candidates anywhere along the spectrum of dangerous to deranged. Take, for instance, her enthusiasm for allowing a holocaust denier to run twice for the party. Not one to relent, in 2019, May permitted a Quebecois separatist candidate to join the rank and file.
May’s outrageousness has also contributed to their reputation of wackiness. “Waging a war against wifi” and presenting 9/11 truther petitions to the House of Commons are hardly ways to endear yourself to the Canadian public.
Nevertheless, it is necessary to accept that May has contributed to the building of the environmentalist movement in Canada. Although, it has become overwhelmingly clear that the Greens would never cement themselves as a viable alternative so long as May was at the helm.