Quebec premier wants Ottawa to ‘settle’ with SNC-Lavalin so firm avoids trial

Quebec premier wants Ottawa to ‘settle’ with SNC-Lavalin so firm avoids trial

Quebec Premier Francois Legault says he wants the federal government to settle with engineering firm SNC-Lavalin “as soon as possible” in order to protect jobs and the company’s corporate headquarters in Montreal.

The embattled firm is vulnerable to a foreign takeover, Legault told reporters Thursday in Quebec City. And the longer its legal troubles drag on, the greater the chance it could fall prey to another company, he said.

“I want to do all we can do to protect this headquarters and protect the thousands of good, well-paying jobs we have at SNC-Lavalin.”

The company has been lobbying the federal government for a remediation agreement to avoid a criminal trial on charges of bribery and fraud related to its efforts to secure government contracts in Libya.

Under a remediation agreement the prosecution would be dropped in exchange for SNC-Lavalin admitting its wrongdoing and paying a financial penalty. The Globe and Mail newspaper reported last week that the Prime Minister’s Office pressured former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to agree to such an agreement.

Legault said SNC should pay for its alleged crimes, but its employees and the province’s economy shouldn’t suffer as a result.

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