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Former SNC-Lavalin executive Sami Bebawi sentenced to 8.5 years in prison

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WATCH: A former SNC-Lavalin official has been sentenced to more than 8 years behind bars. Sami Bebawi is the only former SNC-Lavalin staffer to serve time in Canada in connection with the company's business with Libya in the 2000s. Tim Sargeant reports. – Jan 10, 2020

Sami Bebawi, a former executive at SNC-Lavalin who was found guilty of pocketing millions and paying off foreign officials, has been sentenced to eight years and six months in prison.

Quebec Superior Court Justice Guy Cournoyer handed down his sentence on Friday afternoon, nearly a month after a jury found Bebawi guilty of all five charges he faced.

In his decision, Cournoyer said the 73-year-old former boss of the Montreal-based engineering company had shown remorse to his other colleagues at SNC-Lavalin.

“Corrupting foreign public agents and all that fraud that accommodates it constitutes extremely serious legal violations,” he wrote.

READ MORE: Former SNC Lavalin executive Sami Bebawi found guilty of fraud, corruption

The case focused on several major infrastructure projects and dealings with Saadi Gadhafi, a son of the late Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

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Bebawi was found guilty in December of fraud, corruption of foreign officials and laundering proceeds of crimes on the jury’s fourth day of deliberations.

The Crown had requested that Bebawi be sentenced to nine years in prison. Federal prosecutor Anne-Marie Manoukian said during sentencing arguments that Bebawi has made a mockery of the country’s reputation.

“The sentence shows the importance of deterrence and denunciation of the offence and the gravity of the offence and consequences of such behaviour,” she said on Friday.

During the trial, prosecutors presented evidence that the engineering giant had transferred nearly $113 million to shell companies to pay off people, including Gadhafi.

Annie Emond, the lawyer representing Bebawi, argued for a six-year prison sentence. She said letters from his former colleagues and his family spoke to his character.

READ MORE: Trudeau says he may have acted differently in SNC-Lavalin case — if he knew the outcome

— With files from Global News’ Tim Sargeant and the Canadian Press