WATCH: Mike Armstrong explains that SNC Lavalin faces corruption charges that could seriously affect the company’s future.
MONTREAL — SNC-Lavalin came out fighting Thursday against two new charges of fraud and corruption.
In a public statement, the Montreal-based company said the charges were “without merit” and would be “vigorously” defended.
“These charges relate to alleged reprehensible deeds by former employees who left the company long ago,” the statement read.
“If charges are appropriate, we believe that they would be correctly applied against the individuals in question and not the company.”
The company also noted it did not believe the charges should affect its right to bid or work on any public or private projects.
SNC-Lavalin is considered one of the top engineering and construction groups in the world and is currently working in some 100 countries.
The RCMP has raided SNC-Lavalin offices a number of times, and three high-ranking company executives, Pierre Duhaime, Stephane Roy and Riadh Ben Aissa have all since lost their jobs.
It was alleged that the executives, working on behalf of the company, paid the son of the late Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi millions of dollars in kickbacks in order to obtain access to lucrative contracts and also conspired to use millions of dollars in company funds without permission in an attempt to smuggle Saadi Gadhafi to Mexico.
RCMP allege fraud and corruption
On Thursday, the RCMP confirmed that charges have been laid against SNC-Lavalin Group Inc., its division SNC-Lavalin Construction Inc. and its subsidiary SNC-Lavalin International Inc.
The three entities have been charged with one count of corruption and one count of fraud.
According to a statement released by the RCMP, the alleged criminal acts came to light as part of the ongoing criminal investigation into the company’s business dealings in Libya.
The charges allege that between August 16, 2001 and September 20, 2011, SNC-Lavalin contravened the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act by attempting to bribe several public officials in “Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya” to the tune of over $47 million.
During that same period, the RCMP also alleges that SNC-Lavalin also “by deceit, falsehood or other fraudulent means,” defrauded several Libyan companies and public agencies of property of money or services valued at nearly $130 million, including the “Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya,” the “Management and Implementation Authority of the Great Man Made River Project” and the “General People’s Committee for Transport Civil Aviation Authority” of Libya, Lican Drilling Co. Ltd. and the “Organization for Development of Administrative Centers” of Benghazi, based in Libya.
“Corruption of foreign officials undermines good governance and sustainable economic development” said Assistant CommissionerGilles Michaud , Commanding Officer of the RCMP’s National Division, in a statement.
“The charges laid today demonstrate how the RCMP continues to support Canada’s international commitments and safeguard its integrity and reputation.”
The RCMP statement also noted that three individuals have already been charged in relation to this investigation and the charges stem from Project Assistance, which was first initiated in 2011.