MONTREAL, Sept. 23, 2021- In a statement released today SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. (TSX: SNC) stated that SNC-Lavalin Inc. and SNC-Lavalin international Inc. have been charged under the Criminal Code of Canada with offences that would have occurred from 1997 to 2004 including fraud against the government and conspiracy to commit fraud against the government in connection with the Jacques Cartier Bridge Refurbishment project, a $128 million contract of which SNC-Lavalin was a 50 percent consortium partner.
Two former executives at SNC-Lavalin have been charged with fraud and forgery by the RCMP as part of an ongoing criminal investigation. The investigation into various SNC subsidiaries and employees is related to bribes that RCMP allege were paid in exchange for obtaining contracts. On September 23, the RCMP arrested Normand Morin, a former vice-president of SNC-Lavalin, and Kamal Francis, a former vice-president at SNC-Lavalin International Inc.
The men were arrested in the Montreal area and have been charged, along with their former companies, under the Criminal Code of Canada with the following offences:
- Conspiracy to commit forgery.
- Conspiracy to commit fraud.
- Fraud against the government.
- Conspiracy to commit fraud against the government.
“The Company welcomes the opportunity offered by the DPCP to negotiate a remediation agreement to resolve these charges. This is first time a Canadian company has received an invitation to negotiate such an agreement. SNC-Lavalin has always been and remains willing to reach a reasonable and fair solution that promotes accountability, while permitting the Company to continue to do business and protect the livelihood of its over 30,000 employees, clients, investors and other stakeholders.
The Company, which is today recognized for its robust integrity program and culture, takes seriously these charges relating to alleged events that took place two decades ago. The investigation of this matter has been disclosed in the Company’s public filings and was facilitated by its own self-reporting. The Company has fully and voluntarily cooperated with the authorities.
”I want to emphasize that these charges stem from events that took place nearly 20 years ago, involving former employees who left the company years ago and who no longer have any involvement with our organization,” stated Ian L. Edwards, President and CEO, SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. “We have said repeatedly that the past behaviour of a select group of former individual employees does not represent the values and ethical standards of SNC-Lavalin today. We have made great strides over the past decade. The SNC-Lavalin of today operates at the highest ethical standards and embraces a world-class integrity program, recognized by third parties, and culture established through a commitment to a common set of values”.
“We see this as a further step to put the past behind us and allow the Company to focus on the future. Over the past 2 years, we have made great progress to strengthen the Company for a long-term sustainable future,” added Mr. Edwards.
SNC-Lavalin is Committed to its World-Class Integrity Program
SNC-Lavalin’s Integrity Program aims to prevent, detect and respond to the risk of wrongdoing. It aligns and complies with the principles of international organizations such as Transparency International, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the United Nations Global Compact and the World Bank, as well as the U.S. Department of Justice Resource Guide to the U.S Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
An Integrity Program Recognized by Independent Third Parties
- In 2021, the World Bank Group has granted an early lifting of all sanctions previously imposed in 2013 for a period for a period of 10 years. The decision, which followed a rigorous assessment and monitoring process by World Bank authorities and the independent monitor, confirmed that SNC-Lavalin met all the settlement agreement’s terms and conditions.
- The Ethisphere Institute, a global leader in defining and raising the standards of ethical business practices, also announced in January 2021 that SNC-Lavalin had earned the coveted Compliance Leader Verification for 2021-2022, extending the earlier 2019-2020 verification.
The Company also continues to collaborate with an independent monitor as part of the 2019 settlement of federal charges related to activities that occurred 10 to 20 years ago. The independent monitor is responsible for reporting on the Company’s Integrity Program until December 2022. A summary of each report is published on SNC-Lavalin’s website and each recommendation is given special attention to optimize the current Integrity Program.”
The company says it “fully cooperated” with the RCMP and the former employees “left the company years ago.”
The charges have not been tested or proven in court. The matter will next come up in a Montreal court on Sept. 27.
As The Canadian Press has reported, in 2020, four subsidiaries of SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. were barred from bidding on public contracts in Quebec after the engineering giant’s construction subsidiary pleaded guilty to fraud and agreed to pay a $280-million fine related to work the company did in Libya between 2001 and 2011.