Canada Starts Process To Enact Deferred Prosecution Law
The Canadian government has launched a public process to hammer out a “deferred prosecution” agreement strategy that could enable Montreal-based design-build giant SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. to avoid prosecution on pending corporate corruption charges. If enabling legislation is enacted, it would be an alternative to a criminal trial and potential conviction for the firm, which faces federal charges for paying $47.7 million to government officials in Libya for a decade, ending in 2011, and defrauding Libyan organizations of nearly $130 million. The company attributes the alleged wrongdoing to former executives, some of whom await legal proceedings in Canada. SNC-Lavalin has argued it has lost contracts to foreign competitors that have faced similar legal challenges but have been shielded by agreements in their home countries. In a statement, the company said it “welcomes” the decision to launch a public consultation process. National Bank Financial analyst Maxim Sytchev, who says such pacts exist in the U.S., the U.K. and France, speculates that Canada’s government could roll out a deferred prosecution strategy next year, with the public consultations set to conclude by Nov. 17.