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Quebec judge rules former SNC-Lavalin executive is guilty of corruption charges

Quebec Superior Court Justice Guy Cournoyer found Bebawi guilty of corruption of foreign officials, laundering proceeds of a crime and fraud charges.

The former vice-president of SNC-Lavalin has been found guilty of five charges related to the company’s dealings in Libya. 

Quebec Superior Court Justice Guy Cournoyer found Bebawi guilty of corruption of foreign officials, laundering proceeds of a crime and fraud charges. 

“The company adopted an unusual, unlawful and dishonest practice by artificially inflating the prices of contracts, paying bribes and misappropriating money for personal gain,” said Crown prosecutor Anne-Marie Manoukian. 

Prior to the conviction, the court heard that the company used a shell corporation to funnel $118 million involved in its dealings with the son of former Libyan dictator, Muammar Gaddafi. 

According to crown prosecutors, Bebawi pocketed $26 million for himself and his uncle while also bribing Saadi Gaddafi, in order to secure lucrative contracts in the country.

During another hearing on November 22, one of Bebawi’s past lawyers was also accused of trying to bribe a trial witness so that he would change his testimony to suit Bebawi’s defence. 

Constantine Kyres was accused of bribing one of Bebawi’s coworkers, Riadh Ben Aïssa, with $8 to $10 million. Kyres was recorded making the offer by an undercover police officer who posed as a consultant. 

The company was also accused of spending $2 million on parties and prostitutes for Gaddafi while he was in Canada.

SNC-Lavalin has been at the centre of the national spotlight since February, when the former Liberal Justice Minister and Attorney General, Jody Wilson-Raybould, revealed that the Prime Minister’s Office attempted to have her intervene in the trial.

According to an investigation into the claim by the Ethics Commissioner, Mario Dion, Justin Trudeau broke ethics laws when he directed those close to him to pressure Wilson-Raybould to offer SNC-Lavalin a deferred prosecution agreement. 

“The authority of the Prime Minister and his office was used to circumvent, undermine and attempt to discredit the decision of the Director of Public Prosecutions as well as the authority of Ms. Wilson‑Raybould as the Crown’s chief law officer,” wrote Commissioner Dion. 

The ruling was the second time that Trudeau was found to have broken ethics laws since he accepted a trip from the Aga Khan in 2017. 

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