SNC-Lavalin ‘disappointed’ after federal court rejects bid to avoid criminal prosecution
SNC-Lavalin’s attempt to revisit the chance of remediation — instead of a full prosecution — was struck down in Federal Court on Friday.
The Montreal-based engineering company is facing charges of corruption and bribery. SNC-Lavalin had sought a judicial review of the director of public prosecutions’ (DPP) October decision to proceed with charges instead of using remediation.
But the court sided with the DPP on Friday, saying: “Prosecutorial discretion is not subject to judicial review,” unless there is an abuse of process.
In a statement, the company said it was “disappointed” by the decision and that it had sought the review in the hopes it would reveal why the DPP did not offer the company a negotiation of a remediation agreement.
“Our objective was to negotiate a remediation agreement that would have been both in the public interest and in the interest of our innocent stakeholders: our employees, customers, shareholders and pensioners,” the statement said. “SNC-Lavalin will vigorously defend itself against the charges in court if no remediation agreement is possible.”
SNC-Lavalin is facing allegations it paid millions in bribes to obtain business in Libya.
The issue of remediation is also at the heart of the scandal rocking Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government. Former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould alleged officials from the Prime Minister’s Office pressured her to offer remediation to SNC-Lavalin, garnering accusations of political interference in the legal case.
Trudeau has admitted there was an “erosion of trust” between his office and Wilson-Raybould but has denied all accusations of pressure.
Trudeau dodged questions from reporters about the court ruling on Friday while in Iqaluit, repeating that his government is focused on trying to protect jobs.
“On this specific question of a DPA, that is the attorney general’s decision to make … and the attorney general will make that decision,” he told reporters.
—With files from Reuters
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