SNC-Lavalin Inc. could be paying the Quebec government approximately $30 million to end criminal bribery charges brought against the scandal-plagued company over its work on a Montreal bridge.
As part of the deal reached between the accused and prosecutors, the company will be able to continue doing work with provincial, federal and foreign governments. The remediation deal has yet to be approved by the Quebec Superior Court, and a hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.
The bribery claims stem from work that occurred over two decades ago – from 1997 to 2004 – while SNC-Lavalin handled the Jacques Cartier Bridge project.
On Sept. 23, the province’s Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions brought charges against the company, and SNC-Lavalin’s lawyers began negotiations to settle the matter soon after.
On that day, two former SNC-Lavalin executives Normand Morin and Kamal Francis were arrested by the RCMP as a result of the charges.
In 2017 former president and CEO of Federal Bridge Corp. was also arrested after admitting to getting $2.23 million worth of bribes from the company in relation to the project.
In 2019, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was found to have broken federal ethics rules by Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion after attempting to politically interfere in the justice system by having former Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould intervene in a corruption trial against the company.
According to Dion, Trudeau used his position as Prime Minister to seek to influence Wilson-Raybould’s decision on whether she should overrule the Director of Public Prosecutions’ decision on SNC-Lavalin.
“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 Dion.
The ruling was not the first time that Trudeau had been found guilty of breaking ethics laws. The prime minister also violated the Conflict of Interest Act in 2017 when he accepted a trip to the Aga Khan’s private island.
In 2020, former vice-president of SNC-Lavalin Sami Bebawi was found guilty of corruption of foreign officials, laundering proceeds of a crime and fraud charges in relation to the case.