OECD concerned with allegations against Trudeau in SNC-Lavalin scandal

OECD concerned with allegations against Trudeau in SNC-Lavalin scandal

The SNC-Lavalin headquarters is seen in Montreal on Feb. 12, 2019. PAUL CHIASSON / THE CANADIAN PRESS

OTTAWA — The international economic group that oversees a global anti-bribery convention says it’s monitoring the allegations that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau interfered in a criminal prosecution against SNC-Lavalin.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development says it is concerned by accusations that Trudeau and staff in his office tried to persuade former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to let the Quebec engineering giant negotiate a remediation agreement rather than pursue the firm on criminal charges of bribery and fraud.

SNC-Lavalin is accused of bribing Libyan officials to win a $58-million contract to restore a water pipeline.

Wilson-Raybould says multiple people from Trudeau’s office, the finance minister’s office and the Privy Council Office all put sustained, improper pressure on her to change her mind about pursuing a criminal trial for the firm.

Trudeau and his staff deny anything improper occurred, saying they only wanted to make sure Wilson-Raybould had information about the impact on jobs and wanted her to seek an outside expert opinion on remediation agreements which are a brand new tool in Canada’s criminal law.

The Anti-Bribery Convention, which Canada signed onto in 1999, establishes international standards to criminalize the bribery of foreign officials and the OECD says it is closely monitoring the outcome of the investigations into the SNC-Lavalin affair.