A month-long preliminary inquiry into SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. kicked off Monday, more than three-and-a-half years after federal authorities slapped the construction and engineering giant with fraud and corruption charges.
Prosecutors began to present their case to a Court of Quebec judge, who will decide whether the evidence merits moving forward with a criminal trial.
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In February 2015, the RCMP charged SNC and two subsidiaries with paying nearly $48 million to public officials in Libya between 2001 and 2011 to influence government decisions under the Moammar Gadhafi regime. The RCMP also hit the Montreal-based company, its construction division and a subsidiary with one charge each of fraud and corruption for allegedly defrauding various Libyan organizations of about $130 million.
A conviction could bar SNC from working for the federal government for up to 10 years.
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An RCMP officer gave evidence before Judge Claude Leblond, who placed a publication ban on all evidence presented at the hearing.
The preliminary inquiry went ahead after federal prosecutors declined to offer to negotiate a remediation agreement under a new provision of the Criminal Code. The hearing is slated to continue through to Nov. 30, with a one week break in mid-November.