SNC-Lavalin Settles Graft Cases for US$213 million

A few days after a former SNC-Lavalin executive was found guilty of paying kickbacks and bribing Libyan officials, the Canadian engineering giant said it will pay US$213 million to settle the two corruption cases.

640px-Siege social SNC Lavalin 12SNC-Lavalin (Jeangagnon CC BY 3.0)SNC-Lavalin will pay the fines in exchange for all charges against SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. and its international marketing arm, SNC-Lavalin International Inc. getting withdrawn.

The news came after SNC-Lavalin’s shares were halted on Wednesday morning before the company was expected to appear in court on criminal charges that its executives paid US$36 million in bribes to Libyan officials between 2001 and 2011 in exchange for lucrative contracts.

"This is a game-changer for the company and finally allows us to put this issue behind us. I apologize for this past misconduct and welcome the opportunity to move forward," said Ian Edwards, the company’s president and CEO, in a statement.

The company says the settlement will help it move forward with other business.

The settlement came two days after a former SNC-Lavalin vice-president was found guilty of paying off foreign officials in Libya and laundering money.

The engineering conglomerate’s legal woes even ensnared Canada’s top politicians.

The country’s former attorney general claimed she was told by people close to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to settle the criminal case against SNC-Lavalin. 

Former Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould and Health Minister Jane Philpott were subsequently ejected from the Liberal caucus for making the allegations.

Trudeau was later found to have violated conflict of ethics rules by intervening in the case.

Wilson-Raybould called the news of a settlement on Wednesday a sign Canada’s justice system was working properly.

"I have long believed in the essential necessity of our judicial system operating as it should -- based on the rule of law and prosecutorial independence, and without political interference or pressure," she wrote on Twitter. "Ultimately, that system was able to do its work -- as democracy and good governance requires -- and an outcome was reached today. Accountability was achieved."