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SNC-Lavalin headquarters in Montreal. The company said it had prepared a bid for the Bangladeshi government earlier this year.

Christinne Muschi/Reuters

SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. says it has launched its own internal investigation as it faces a probe of overseas corruption allegations by the RCMP, which raided its Toronto-area offices last week.

The Montreal-based engineering giant saw its shares sink 4.3 per cent on Tuesday, when it issued a new statement on the allegations.

The company acknowledged that Mounties raided its Oakville, Ont., office on Thursday in connection with its failed bid to supervise a World-Bank-sponsored bridge-building project in Bangladesh.

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"We are collaborating fully with the investigation and have launched our own internal enquiry to determine the cause of this situation," the company said, adding that it does not tolerate "unethical behaviour" among employees.

SNC-Lavalin said it had prepared a bid for the Bangladeshi government earlier this year to supervise the contractor responsible for the overall project. The company said it would have made $10-million on the project, but did not win the job.

Word of the investigation first surfaced late last week, after the World Bank said late Friday it had tipped off Canadian authorities about corruption allegations involving SNC employees and a multibillion-dollar bridge project in Bangladesh.

In April, the World Bank agreed to lend $1.2-billion (U.S.) to Bangladesh to build the Padma Bridge, which is to link the country's underdeveloped south with its capital, Dhaka, and the country's main port, Chittagong. An international consortium led by the World Bank has agreed to lend Bangladesh up to $2.9-billion for the project.

The investigation is the second recent alleged corruption case involving a Canadian company operating in Bangladesh. In June, Calgary-based Niko Resources paid a $9.5-million (Canadian) fine after pleading guilty to bribing a Bangladeshi energy minister with a luxury SUV, as well as a trip to Calgary, New York and Chicago.

The Niko case was seen by some as a sign that Canada's lax anti-corruption enforcement, which has earned it international criticism, was being stepped up. In a report released in May, the group Transparency International identified Canada as the worst-performing G7 country when it came to cracking down on overseas bribery, characterizing it as having "little or no enforcement" and ranking it among Greece, Slovakia and Slovenia.

With a report from Reuters

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About the Author
Toronto City Hall Reporter

Jeff Gray is The Globe and Mail’s Toronto City Hall reporter. He has worked at The Globe since 1998. From 2010 to 2016, he was the law reporter in Report on Business, covering Bay Street law firms and white-collar crime. He won an honourable mention at the National Magazine Awards for investigative journalism in 2010. More

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