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