SNC-Lavalin issues statement following charges
SNC-Lavalin contests the federal charges by the public prosecution service of Canada, and will enter a non-guilty plea.
Following is the full text of a press release issued by SNC-Lavalin:
Montreal February 19, 2015
The company firmly considers that the charges are without merit and will vigorously defend itself.
These charges do not affect the company’s right and ability to bid or work on any public or private projects.
The charges stem from the same alleged activities of former employees in Libya from over three years ago and that are publicly known.
Today, SNC-Lavalin (TSX: SNC) was informed that federal charges have been laid by the Public Prosecution Service of Canada against SNC-Lavalin Group Inc., SNC-Lavalin International Inc. and SNC-Lavalin Construction Inc. Each entity has been charged with one count of fraud under section 380 of the Criminal Code of Canada and one count of corruption under Section 3(1)(b) of the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act. SNC-Lavalin firmly considers that the charges are without merit and will vigorously defend itself and plead not guilty in the interest of its current employees, families, partners, clients, investors and other stakeholders.
“The charges stem from the same alleged activities of former employees from over three years ago in Libya, which are publicly known, and that the company has cooperated on with authorities since then,” stated Robert G. Card, President and CEO, SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. “Even though SNC-Lavalin has already incurred significant financial damage and losses as a result of actions taken prior to March 2012, we have always been and remain willing to reach a reasonable and fair solution that promotes accountability, while permitting us to continue to do business and protect the livelihood of our over 40,000 employees, our clients, our investors and our other stakeholders.”
It is important to note that companies in other jurisdictions, such as the United States and United Kingdom, benefit from a different approach that has been effectively used in the public interest to resolve similar matters while balancing accountability and securing the employment, economic and other benefits of businesses.
These charges relate to alleged reprehensible deeds by former employees who left the company long ago. If charges are appropriate, we believe that they would be correctly applied against the individuals in question and not the company. The company has and will continue to fully cooperate with authorities to ensure that any individuals who are believed to have committed illegal acts are brought to justice. The company will also consider claims against these individuals to recover any damages the company has suffered as a result.
While the Public Prosecution Service of Canada and the RCMP have selected this as the next formal step in this 3-year old investigation, there is no change to the company’s right and ability to bid or work on any public or private projects.
Becoming a benchmark in ethics and compliance
Over the past three years, we have made significant changes to the company and remained focused on continuous improvements in ethics and compliance. The tone from the top is clear and unequivocal; there is zero tolerance for ethics violations. The individuals alleged to have been involved in past ethical issues are no longer with the company, and a new CEO has changed the face of the executive team. Under the leadership of the Board of Directors, the company has reinforced its Ethics and Compliance program with huge investments in time and money to rapidly make significant and concrete enhancements, including:
- Creating the position of Chief Compliance Officer, who reports to the board, and hiring world-renowned leaders in compliance
- Appointing an Independent Monitor recommended by and who reports solely to, the World Bank Group
- Appointing compliance officers in all of the company’s business units and regional offices worldwide
- Creating a dedicated Ethics and Compliance team
- Further reinforcing internal controls and procedures
- Further reinforcing its Code of Ethics and Ethics and Compliance Hotline
- Producing a dedicated Anti-Corruption Manual
- Offering annual compliance training to all employees, with a special focus on those working in strategic roles
- Developing and distributing a world-class Business Partners Policy to employees
- Using an independent third party to screen candidates for senior management positions
Working hard to build a global leader in the engineering and construction industry
Over the past 3 years and while managing issues created by events prior to 2012, we have worked hard to develop and implement a strategy to become a global Tier-1 player and take our place in a consolidating industry. We have taken concrete steps towards a 5-year goal of doubling our size, and we continue to deliver on our strategy. A clear example is the acquisition of Kentz that added 15,000 employees to our oil and gas business, making us a Tier-1 player in this area.
Since 1911, SNC-Lavalin employees have been working with our clients to create world-class projects that improve people’s quality of life and provide value to our clients. We are the only Canadian player among the top engineering and construction firms in the world, ranking as the number one firm in both Canada and Quebec.
“I would like to thank our more than 40,000 employees, clients, shareholders, partners and other stakeholders for their trust and continuing support,” concluded Mr. Card.
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Founded in 1911, SNC-Lavalin is one of the leading engineering and construction groups in the world and a major player in the ownership of infrastructure. From offices in over 50 countries, SNC-Lavalin’s employees provide EPC and EPCM services to clients in a variety of industry sectors, including mining and metallurgy, oil and gas, environment and water, infrastructure and clean power. SNC-Lavalin can also combine these services with its financing and operations and maintenance capabilities to provide complete end-to-end project solutions. www.snclavalin.com