(March 15, 2013) A vice-president from SNC-Lavalin, Canada’s largest engineering company, admitted yesterday before Quebec’s Charbonneau inquiry into corruption in public-works contracts, that it organized its employees to make more than $1 million in illegal political donations. While there was no direct link between the donations and a quarter-billion dollars in contracts the firm was awarded by the provincial government, Yves Cadotte insisted, the company did not want to take any chances.
By Patricia Adams for Probe International
Yves Cadotte, senior vice-president and general manager of SNC’s transport, infrastructure and buildings division, told the Charbonneau Commission investigating corruption in Quebec’s public works construction contracts, that it organized its employees to donate more than $1 million to the province’s two main political parties – the Liberals and the Parti Québécois – from 1998 to 2010. The employees would then get bonuses from the company greater than their donations.
For three decades it has been illegal for companies to make political donations in Quebec. When asked by a commission lawyer if he knew this, Cadotte said yes.
Mr. Cadotte said that the company organized the operation because the parties solicited the donations and SNC-Lavalin, which received 550 contracts worth $247.5 million from Quebec’s Transport Department between 1997-98 and 2011-12, feared what would happen if it didn’t donate.
SNC-Lavalin, Canada’s largest engineering company, is beleaguered by lawsuits and police investigations into the actions of several former SNC-Lavalin executives in Canada and abroad. Two former executives are facing fraud charges and India is trying to extradite another on criminal conspiracy charges related to the awarding of a contract to overhaul three hydroelectric dams in the southwestern state of Kerala.
To read more about the revelations before the Charbonneau Commission see:
SNC-Lavalin donated more than $1 million to Quebec political parties, commission told in the Financial Post
SNC-Lavalin Admits To Illegal Political Donations In Quebec (CP) in The Huffington Post
Charbonneau Commission: SNC exec says his firm made illegal donations in the Montreal Gazette
Go here for more details on “Lavalingate” in India.