Canadian authorities probing employees of SNC-Lavalin Group

Fri Sep 2, 2011 10:34pm EDT
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Canadian authorities are investigating employees of SNC-Lavalin Group Inc for possible corruption involving a $1.2 billion World Bank bridge project in Bangladesh, a bank spokesman said on Friday.

The World Bank said it had been informed that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police had raided several locations as part of their investigation. SNC-Lavalin confirmed it was cooperating with Canadian authorities, but gave no details.

Canadian authorities launched the probe following a referral from World Bank officials about alleged corruption in the bidding process for the Padma Bridge, a bank spokesman said. He said the bank was continuing its own investigation.

The World Bank approved financing for the Padma Bridge project in April, but had not disbursed any funds given the ongoing investigation, said the spokesman.

"We commend the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for its robust response to the World Bank referral and look forward to the outcome of its investigation," said the spokesman.

Leslie Quinton, a spokeswoman for SNC-Lavalin, said the company was assisting Canadian authorities with an investigation on a specific case, but gave no further details.

"We are complying fully with their requests and are not aware of any reason that would warrant such an investigation," Quinton said. "Because the situation is under investigation, we cannot comment any further."

Constable Julie Morel, spokeswoman for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, confirmed that the police agency had executed search warrants at several locations as part of an investigation of SNC-Lavalin employees on Thursday.

She declined to identify which locations or to provide any further details since the investigation was still under way.   Continued...

<p>A pedestrian walks past the SNC-Lavalin Group Inc., headquarters in Montreal, May 7, 2009. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi</p>