The former CEO of Canadian engineering giant SNC-Lavalin is facing his second arrest in fewer than four months, after Quebec’s anti-corruption task force issued warrants for five prominent individuals linked to a corruption scandal.
Pierre Duhaime, who resigned as CEO of SNC-Lavalin last spring amid allegations he signed of on $56 million in inappropriate spending, is wanted on new charges of fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud, counterfeit, fraud against the government, secret commissions and money laundering, the Montreal Gazette reported Wednesday.
Duhaime was arrested last November on charges of fraud. He pleaded not guilty earlier this month. Both the old and new charges are related to allegations of corruption surrounding a contract to build a new facility for the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC).
Also charged this week is Riadh Ben Aissa, the former head of SNC’s construction division. Ben Aissa has been in Swiss custody since last spring, when he was arrested over allegations of bribery connected to SNC-Lavalin’s dealings with the former Libyan regime of Muammar Gaddafi.
According to RCMP documents obtained by several news sources, Ben Aissa was allegedly instrumental in the funnelling of $160 million in bribe money to Saadi Gaddafi, son of the later Libyan dictator.
Ben Aissa is accused of handling the missing $56 million over which Duhaime was forced to resign. It’s alleged part of the money went to securing the MUHC contract in Montreal, and some went on winning contracts in North Africa, CTV News reports.
Aside from the two former SNC execs, the anti-corruption task force also charged Arthur Porter, the former CEO of MUHC; Yanai Elbaz, a former associate director general of MUHC; and Jeremy Morris, whom the Globe and Mail identifies as a princial of Sierra Asset Management, a company that contracted with SNC to help it land the MUHC deal.
Pierre Duhaime is the former CEO of Quebec engineering firm SNC-Lavalin. Duhaime resigned in March after an internal investigation revealed some $56 million in questionable payments. He was arrested on Nov. 28, 2012. Duhaime served as an executive vice president at SNC Lavalin from 2003-2009 and CEO from 2009-2012. According to the Financial Post, Duhaime received $5 million in severance when he left. Photo: Graham Hughes/CP
SNC-Lavalin, one of Canada's largest engineering firms, has been under scrutiny for various corruption charges. A report stated that employees from the company tried to bribe Bangladeshi officials. The company also faces a money-laundering probe from the Swiss authorities.
SNC-Lavalin is one of the largest engineering firms in the world. In Canada they have worked on such well-known projects as Highway 407 in the GTA, the Montreal subway system and Calgary and Vancouver's light-rail systems.
The company came under fire for its work in Libya. A former SNC-Lavalin executive was accused of funneling cash to the Gaddafi family. The Globe and Mail did an in-depth look at the company's long relationship with Libya. In a 2011 interview with Macleans magazine, Duhaime defended the company's work with the despotic regime including building a prison.
Duhaime spoke out in 2011 against a public inquiry into corruption in Quebec's construction sector. "What is surprising is that the report touches so many areas with so few facts. It surprised me to see a report with so little substance but so many allusions," he said to the Canadian Club in Montreal in September, 2011. Photo: CP Files