SNC reaches agreement to repay Quebec municipalities for questionable contracts
The restitution payments to seven cities stem from a provincial program targeting ill-gotten public contracts from as far back as 1996
MONTREAL—Engineering giant SNC-Lavalin has reached agreement to pay restitution to seven Quebec municipalities for obtaining contracts through questionable means.
Neil Bruce, CEO of the Montreal-based engineering and construction firm, says the settlements under the province’s voluntary reimbursement program are “final and fair.”
The provincial government launched the program in November 2015 aimed at recovering money paid in connection with public contracts obtained as a result of fraud or fraudulent tactics. It gave businesses and individuals two years to voluntarily make such payments for contracts dating as far back as 1996.
SNC-Lavalin says it has reached agreement with Montreal, Quebec, Laval, Levis, Longueuil, Deux-Montagnes and the municipality of Saint-Cyprien.
Bruce has said the company wasn’t admitting culpability with the payment and was only following the process set up by the province.
Terms of the agreements are confidential under the program and provincial legislation.
Top SNC-Lavalin executives testified before the Charbonneau corruption inquiry that the company illegally donated money to provincial and municipal political parties to obtain work contracts.
Program mediator, retired judge Francois Rolland, has submitted his report about the program involving several construction firms to Justice Minister Stephanie Vallee, who will release the findings in six months.
The public will find out how much each municipality will receive and the total amount recuperated under the program. However, the amounts paid by each company will not be disclosed.
All negotiations have ended, but the deadline for completing paperwork has been extended to Dec. 15.
Under the reimbursement program, companies repay at least 20 per cent of the value of the contracts plus a 10 per cent administrative charge.
Several former company executives face fraud-related charges involving the McGill University Health Centre in Montreal. The company itself has pleaded not guilty to the one fraud and one corruption charge filed by the RCMP against SNC-Lavalin and two of its subsidiaries related to payments to public officials in Libya.