Two former executives of SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. have been charged with corrupting foreign officials, the RCMP confirmed late Friday.
The Mounties’ A division anti-corruption team arrested Ramesh Shah, 61, of Oakville, Ont. and Mohammed Ismail, 48, of Mississauga, Ont., in late February, but the news did not emerge until an incorrect version of their names appeared in a Bangladeshi newspaper this week.
The men have reportedly made several court appearances since they were formally charged on April 11, and are scheduled to appear again in a Toronto court on Monday.
Canadian police have been highly secretive about their investigations of the Montreal-based engineering giant.
Mounties raided SNC-Lavalin’s Oakville office last September in connection with its failed bid for a bridge project in Bangladesh sponsored by the World Bank.
Police also raided the company’s Montreal headquarters in April, apparently in relation to the company’s business in North Africa.
The Montreal raid was soon followed by the arrest of a former SNC executive, Riadh Ben Aissa, in what Swiss authorities described as an investigation into allegations of corruption, fraud and money laundering.
The latest arrests appear related to the first raid, in Oakville, because an RCMP statement said the force informed its counterparts in Bangladesh, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), about the arrests. The ACC has been investigating allegations of bribery that prompted the World Bank to suspend a $1.2-billion (U.S.) loan and temporarily ban an SNC-Lavalin subsidiary from bidding on contracts in the country.
Mr. Shah had been a vice-president and Mr. Ismail was director of international projects at SNC-Lavalin in Toronto.
The two men were charged jointly with one count under the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
The law, which is relatively new in Canada, targets any business person who “directly or indirectly gives, offers or agrees to give or offer a loan, reward, advantage or benefit of any kind to a foreign public official or to any person for the benefit of a foreign public official.”
It also prohibits people from attempting to “induce the official to use his or her position to influence any acts or decisions of the foreign state or public international organization for which the official performs duties or functions.”
SNC-Lavalin spokeswoman Leslie Quinton said the company has not been charged and she is not aware if other former employees face charges or have left SNC-Lavalin in relation to issues in Bangladesh.
With files from The Canadian Press
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