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Cops raid beleaguered engineering firm tied to Gaddafis

SNC-Lavalin faces questions surrounding bribery, improper payments in Libya, Bangladesh.

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RCMP officers raided Montreal engineering company SNC-Lavalin on Friday, April 13, 2012. The company is embroiled in scandals and allegations involving projects in Libya and Bangladesh. (CBC/Screengrab)

Police raided engineering firm SNC-Lavalin’s Montreal office today as the company continues to confront claims of mismanagement, improper spending in Libya and bribery in Bangladesh, The Globe and Mail reported.

The company responded by saying its cooperating fully with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police probe.

“The warrant relates to an investigation of certain individuals who are not, or are no longer, employed by the company,” a press release from SNC-Lavalin said. 

SNC is reeling after allegations its former CEO, Pierre Duhaime, authorized $56 million worth of payments used to win contracts around the world, the Globe said.

Duhaime left the company last month. In February, the company said two of its vice presidents – Stephane Roy (finance) and Riadh Ben Aissa (construction) – had left the company.

Aissa was linked to Muammar Gaddafi’s son, Saadi.

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“Police are everywhere – they’re looking at all the files,” the Globe quoted one employee as saying. “All the police, all the company lawyers, they’re checking everything … everything.”

The company also faces questions after Mexican police arrested one of its consultants, Cyndy Vanier, on allegations she tried to smuggle Saadi Gaddafi into Mexico after the Libyan dictatorship crumbled, CBC said.

Duhaime resigned after an internal audit discovered the unscrupulous payments, the National Post reported.

The $56 million went to “agents” hired by SNC to win contracts by securing permits and relationship building in foreign countries, the Post said.

At least one of those payments came through Tunisia.

The Globe and Mail also reported the World Bank accused SNC of bribing government officials in Bangladesh.

The World Bank suspended bidding privileges of an SNC subsidiary related to the allegations surrounding the $1.2-billion Padma bridge project, the Globe said.

News of the raid sent stocks tumbling, Bloomberg reported.

In early afternoon trading, SNC stock had dropped five percent to C$38.05 after dipping to C$37.13. The stock's 52-week high was C$59.97.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/canada/120413/cops-raid-beleaguered-engineering-firm-tied-gaddafis