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Bridging The Two Worlds Essay

1289 words - 6 pages

Improbable Plot Casts Unflattering Light on SNC-Lavalin
In October of 2012, one of Canada’s largest engineering companies, which was also one of the world’s five largest, hired a new CEO in what looked like the next chapter of an ongoing attempt to put a series of revelations about unethical and potentially illegal dealings around the world behind them. While the company had fired some key people who were connected with the scandals, there were those who publicly mused that the reported unethical and illegal dealings weren’t just the work of a rogue international VP, Riadh Ben Aissa, but that Mr. Ben Aissa’s way of doing business was well-understood within SNC. While Mr. Ban Aissa was ...view middle of the document...

SNC-Lavalin had been formed by a

merger of two Montreal-based engineering
firms in 1991. SNC was established by Arthur Surveyer in 1911 while Lavalin’s precursor company was crated by two engineers in 1936. Bernard Lamarre was named President and CEO in 1962, and still led Lavalin when the merger happened. During the late 1980s it was Mr. Lamarre’s projects that a young Riadh Ben Aissa worked on—and the two of them became know as the “firemen” for their abilities to handle complicated situations successfully. Stories of illegal dealings arise It was a strange start to what became an even stranger story and an embarrassing episode for the major Canadian company. In November 2011, Cynthia Vanier, a Canadian woman from mount Forest, Ontario, was included in a group of people arrested in Mexico and later jailed for 18months, for allegedly trying to smuggle Saadi Gaddafi, son of Muammar Gaddafi, the President of Libya, and his family into Mexico on false passports. Authorities claimed that part of the plot included the purchase of a condo and house for the Gaddafi family by Ms. Vanier, a contractor for SNC-Lavalin. Ms. Vanier denied the charges saying that the condo was for her and her husband. She said she had been hired by the company to report on the security situation in Libya where SNCLavalin had significant investments. Saadi Gaddafi also had connections to SNC-Lavalin and to Canada. He was hosted by the company when he traveled to Canada for English classes, and he also bought a condo in Toronto. SNC-Lavalin initially denied they had hired Ms. Vanier, but later admitted they had asked her to assess whether company employees, who had been evacuated during the civil war in Libya, could return to their jobs in the country. Matters only got worse for the company when it came to light that $56 million dollars were missing and that mystery payments were made to an unnamed agent of the company.

At that time, the CEO, Pierre Duhaime, abruptly resigned and the Board of Directors called in the police to investigate. The Company Chairman, Gwyn Morgan, stated that the missing funds weren’t related to the earlier firing of senior executive, Riadh Ben Aissa, who had been the head of the company’s operations in Libya. Mr. Ben Aissa had been very successful at winning large contracts there apparently due to his relationship with Saadi Gaddafi. In 2010, the company earned $418 million for its projects in Libya, which was approximately seven percent of the overall revenue for the year. In 2011, the Libyan revenue dropped to $86.2 million when SNCLavalin pulled out of Libya due to the civil was that broke out in the country. Following its own investigation, the board explained that the missing funds were paid to commercial agents who were hired to help the company get two major construction contracts, although they...

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