The preliminary hearing in the fraud trial linked to the McGill University superhospital began Monday at the Montreal courthouse.

It was slated to cover seven of the accused, including former SNC executives Pierre Duhaime and Riadh Ben Aissa.

But one of them, Yohann Elbaz, chose to forego the preliminary hearing and go straight to trial, while the Crown chose to drop one of the bribery charges against him. He is set to appear in court again on April 2.

The hearing for the other six was delayed while the court room had to be rearranged to accommodate some of the accused and their lawyers. Three of those facing charges didn't appear in court.

Crown prosecutor Marie-Hélène Giroux said the preliminary hearing will likely last until early April. 

"I'm trying to prove there's reasonable foundation to the accusations and that they should all be committed to trial," Giroux said.

In total, nine people were charged with a range of counts including fraud, conspiracy and corruption. 

The charges are in connection with alleged bribes used to secure the MUHC contract for a consortium including SNC-Lavalin.

A total of $22.5 million was allegedly paid to SNC-Lavalin International and funnelled through shell companies to the former head of the MUHC, Arthur Porter, and his wife, Pamela Porter.

Arthur Porter is facing charges but is fighting his extradition from Panama.

Giroux would not comment on the extradition process.

Pamela Porter pleaded guilty last December to two counts of money laundering.

SNC-Lavalin and the Quebec government are both seeking to recover money allegedly paid out in the bribery scheme.