SNC-Lavalin opts for corruption trial before judge alone

SNC-Lavalin opts for corruption trial before judge alone
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MONTREAL — Lawyers representing SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. have opted for trial by judge alone in a corruption case that has loomed over the Montreal-based engineering giant.

The company was ordered to stand trial last May.

The Montreal-based firm is accused of paying $47.7 million in bribes to public officials in Libya between 2001 and 2011. SNC-Lavalin, its construction division and a subsidiary also face one charge each of fraud and corruption for allegedly defrauding various Libyan organizations of $129.8 million.

Being found guilty could have grave consequences for SNC-Lavalin because it could find itself blacklisted and shut out of lucrative federal contracts for a period of 10 years as well as undermining its international business opportunities.

Shortly after learning that it would be ordered to stand trial, SNC-Lavalin said it intended to vigorously challenge the charges and plead not guilty.

The company has been caught in a political controversy for months after failing to secure a deferred prosecution agreement, a kind of plea deal that would have seen the firm agree to pay a fine rather than face prosecution.

Former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould alleged that top government officials pressured her to overrule federal prosecutors in the Libya case and negotiate a deferred prosecution agreement with the company.

The case will return to court on Sept. 20.

Companies in this story: (TSX:SNC)

The Canadian Press

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