Trudeau comes third on leading an ethical government: poll
In a poll conducted for Nanos by the Globe and Mail, no federal leader has an advantage on leading an ethical government.
Elizabeth May of the Green Party topped the list at 22.8 percent, followed by Conservative leader Andrew Scheer at 20 percent.
Former SNC-Lavaline executive Sami Bebawi, 73, was found guilty of corruption and fraud charges related to the engineering giant’s ties with former Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi.
A Quebec Superior Court jury found Bebawi guilty of the five counts against him, including fraud, corruption of foreign officials, and laundering proceeds of crime.
Bebawi served as SNC-Lavalin’s head of international construction division. Crown prosecutors portrayed Bebawi as “a key figure in an elaborate scheme to bribe Libyan officials,” the CBC reports.
Another former high-level SNC-Lavalin executive, Riadh Ben Aissa, told the courtroom that SNC had transferred over $100 million dollars to a shell company in the late 90s until the death of Gadhafi in 2011.
The executive claimed that the money was intended for Gadhafi’s son, Saadi Gadhafi.
Aissa, who had himself served two years in a Swiss jail for bribing Libyan officials, admitted to being a figure in setting up the company as a reward Gadhafi for aiding SNC-Lavalin to secure expensive construction projects, which resulted in SNC winning numerous Libyan contracts which totalled a whopping $1.85 billion.
Gadhafi’s rewards also included a $25 million yacht and coquettish trips to Montreal and other major Canadian cities.
Interactions between Gadhafi and SNC also remain unfinished, as the company allegedly gave $48 million in bribes to Libyan officials between 2001 and 2011, a direct violation of the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act.
Sami Bebawi was sentenced to 8-and-a-half years in prison.
SNC also recently had to pay out a $280 million fine for other corruption charges.
Controversial engineering firm SNC-Lavalin will plead guilty to a corruption charge, say federal prosecutors in a Montreal court on Wednesday.
The Montreal-based engineering giant, who has been no stranger to public controversy in the past year, was facing charges on criminal trial in relation to shady business dealings with Libya.
The company will now be ordered to pay a hefty $280-million fine, which the company will have five years to pay off.
Lawyers for SNC-Lavalin are penned to present their sentencing arguments to the Quebec Superior Court later Wednesday, CTV reports.
This comes only hours after the company’s stock, TSX, was halted for trade.
The halt was announced at 8:16 am by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada, though no further details were given surrounding the halt at that time.
The charges also come only days after a former SNC-Lavalin executive was found guilty of charges including fraud, laundering proceeds of crime, and corruption of foreign officials.
Former SNC-Lavalin executive Sami Bebawi was found guilty of five charges related to fraud, bribery and money laundering for his part in dealings with the former Libyan regime of Muammar Gaddafi.
Quebec Superior Court Justice Guy Cournoyer said Bebawi was not a flight risk and that the 73-year-old would remain free until sentencing, following jury–verdicts in the six-week trial on Sunday.
Bebawi is the second Canadian convicted for crimes related to SNC-Lavalin’s business in Libya, conducted between 2001 and 2011.
The first was Riadh Ben Assai, who was convicted in Switzerland in 2014 and spent two years in jail there before cutting a plea deal with Canadian authorities to testify against his former colleague.
During Bebawi’s trial, Ben Aissa’s told the jury he set up a shell company in the British Virgin Islands where millions of dollars were funnelled to himself, Bebawi and Gaddafi insiders.
These insiders included the dictator’s son Saadi, who was showered with prostitutes, concert tickets, condo decorators and even a custom-built $25 million yacht.
In addition to being in on the scheme that involved bribes and gifts to secure lucrative contracts between the regime and SNC-Lavalin, Bebawi was accused of skimming upwards of $26 million off the top for himself.
The company still awaits trial for related charges; a matter which ultimately beset Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s first government, after a February 7, 2019, Globe and Mail story alleged then-Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould lost her job over it.
In August, Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion’s Trudeau II Report corroborated Wilson-Raybould’s version of events, concluding that a Trudeau broke conflict of interest law in pressuring her, repeatedly through the fall of 2018, to defer SNC-Lavalin’s charges to remediation.
Deferred prosecution agreements, or remediation for alleged corporate crime, were a new criminal code provision included earlier that year in the federal budget bill, after heavy SNC-Lavalin lobbying efforts.
In the end, Wilson-Raybould refused to budge and the ensuing scandal precipitated her excommunication from the Liberal Party’s national caucus and the resignation of Trudeau’s top advisor Gerald Butts and the nation’s top civil servant; then-Privy Council Clerk Michael Wernick.
The Québec construction firm and two of its subsidiaries remain accused of paying $48 million in bribes to Libyan officials and have opted for trial by judge.
If convicted, and without a deferred prosecution agreement, the company faces a 10-year bidding ban on federal contracts here in Canada.
Duvel Securities, a shell company that former SNC-Lavalin executive Riadh Ben Aissa set up in British Virgin Islands, received nearly $120 million, according to a forensic accountant who analyzed the Quebec firm’s financial statements.
Sophie Déry, hired by RCMP to audit SNC-Lavalin’s business activity in Libya between 2001 and 2011, told jury members at Quebec Superior Court on Monday that from Duvel, $14 million was transferred to former vice-president Sami Bebawi, another $11 million to his uncle.
Bebawi has pleaded not guilty to eight charges, including fraud, corruption, money laundering, and bribery of foreign officials related to business dealings between SNC-Lavalin and the Libyan regime of the late-dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
The Crown also alleges that Bebawi orchestrated the arrangement and benefitted personally to the tune of $26 million.
Corroborating previous testimony given by Ben Aissa, Déry told the jury $27 million (Aissa said it was $25 million) was used to furnish Gaddafi’s son Saadi a custom-built yacht.
In 2012, Swiss police arrested Ben Aissa and he pleaded guilty for money-laundering and spent two years in prison there.
The charges and guilty plea caused RCMP to open an investigation, which cleared the way for Aissa’s extradition to Canada where he cut a plea deal last summer and in exchange for a lighter sentence – 51 months for forging documents – agreed to testify against his old boss.
In its fourth week, the trial has included testimony from former SNC-Lavalin chief financial officer Gilles Laramée and Paul Beaudry, a former SNC finance VP, among their revelations did not deny a custom yacht was purchased for Saadi, just who bore responsibility for it.
Earlier in the trial Ben Aissa told the jury Bebawi and Laramée were appraised of the yacht, while last week Beaudry claimed Laramée called to say he knew nothing about it.
Charges against Bebawi are related, but separate from concurrent legal proceedings against the firm itself, which opted for trial by judge in June of this year in a case has yet to go to trial.
The Crown’s case against Bebawi is focused on relationships SNC-Lavalin cultivated with Saadi and Muammar Gaddafi, involving million-dollar bribes and kickbacks to maintain a pipeline of valuable contracts for the Québec-based engineering firm.