Advertisement

Jurors get final instructions on corruption case of ex SNC-Lavalin boss

Former SNC-Lavalin vice-president Sami Bebawi leaves a courtroom in Montreal on Friday, February 15, 2019.
Former SNC-Lavalin vice-president Sami Bebawi leaves a courtroom in Montreal on Friday, February 15, 2019. Paul Chiasson / The Canadian Press

Jurors received final instructions Wednesday in the corruption trial of a former SNC-Lavalin executive.

Sami Bebawi, 73, has pleaded not guilty to five charges that include fraud, corruption of foreign officials and laundering proceeds of crime.

The Quebec Superior Court judge presiding over the trial began his charge to the jury late in the afternoon, with deliberations expected to start Thursday.

The Crown has alleged that Bebawi was the architect of a scheme to grease the wheels in Libya in order to secure lucrative deals.

Prosecutors have argued the Montreal engineering giant transferred about $113 million to shell companies used to pay off people who helped the company collect and secure deals in Libya beginning in the late 1990s.

READ MORE: Millions in Bebawi’s accounts were bonuses authorized by SNC bosses: defence

What remained in the accounts of those firms after the kickbacks were paid was then allegedly split between Bebawi and Riadh Ben Aissa, a former colleague, with Bebawi allegedly pocketing $26 million.

Story continues below advertisement

The trial looked at several major infrastructure projects and centred on dealings with Saadi Gadhafi, one of the sons of late Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, to facilitate deals.

The defence argued that the amounts transferred to Bebawi’s accounts were bonuses authorized by the SNC-Lavalin’s ex-president, Jacques Lamarre, for the successful completion of complicated contracts in Libya.

READ MORE: Greed drove former SNC-Lavalin exec’s alleged fraud, corruption scheme, Crown says

Bebawi’s lawyer argued that the Crown’s key witness in the case, Ben Aissa, was unreliable and that there was no evidence any of the contracts secured in Libya were inflated.

The defence also disagreed that the younger Gadhafi was a foreign public official, describing him instead as a “spoiled child” who had a direct line to the late dictator but no real power or authority.

Bebawi did not testify or present a defence — which was his right as it was up to the Crown to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, Justice Guy Cournoyer told jurors.

The trial has been sitting for six weeks.