Canadian offshore contractor, SNC-Lavalin, will pay a CAD 280 million (USD 213 million) fine after pleading guilty to fraud and an influence-peddling charges involving the son of former Libyan leader, Moammar Gadhafi.
On Thursday, the Quebec-based company — widely reported to have received improper support from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — admitted the Libya payments made by its construction business. A Montreal judge accepted the plea.
SNC-Lavalin earned over CAD 2 billion (USD 34 million) over 10 years on Libyan construction projects. It was well-placed to bid on oil and gas tenders in the North African country.
Over CAD 45 million in bribes to Saadi Gadhafi were said to have been paid between 2001 and 2011. They included a Toronto apartment and gifts.
A Quebec Superior Court Judge ordered the company to hire independent financial supervision for its upcoming earnings reports. The judge also ordered code of ethics updates to be made on the company’s web page.
“This is a game-changer for the company and finally allows us to put this issue behind us,” SNC Lavalin chief exec, Ian Edwards, was quoted as saying.
“I apologize for this past misconduct and welcome the opportunity to move forward.”
Of some interest, Equinor — when it was Statoil — faced similar financial supervision in New York after its own Libyan influence-peddling fiasco over a decade ago. The scandal claimed then CEO, Olav Fjell.
It’s not known whether the payments will affect the company’s ability to operate. The company will make the payments over five years.
The company’s shares rose strongly in Toronto on news of the judge’s ruling. It included a provision that any other charges related to the company or its businesses be withdrawn.
Conviction would have barred SNC-Lavalin from Canadian government tenders, and that would have jeopardized 9,000 jobs in Canada and thousands of others abroad.
SNC-Lavalin has been an active player in offshore wind in the North Sea. Its designs of substation platforms have helped speed the UK’s offshore wind build-up at Hornsea, Walney, Race Bank and Burbo.
The engineering powerhouse boasts 700 oil and gas projects worth of experience in 50 countries. Thousands of engineers drive SNC-Lavalin’s EPC teams.