SNC-Lavalin and the Vanier investigation: key players
Last Updated: April 2012
Results of an internal investigation made public in March 2012 indicated the engineering giant uncovered $56 million US in mysterious payments. The report resulted in the resignation of SNC-Lavalin CEO Pierre Duhaime amid allegations by the company he signed off on payments to undisclosed agents, breaching the company's code of ethics. The allegations have not been proven, and Duhaime has not commented publicly. But SNC said it did not believe the payments were related to Libya.
SNC-Lavalin has also been investigating ties between senior executives and the regime of former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. On that front, the company's troubles began when its name surfaced in connection with Canadian consultant, Cynthia Vanier, accused of masterminding a criminal plot to smuggle members of Libya's Gadhafi family into Mexico.
The Canadian consultant was arrested in Mexico City on Nov. 10, 2011, and accused of attempting to smuggle the Libyan dictator's son, Saadi Gadhafi, and his family into Mexico. A CBC investigation revealed that Vanier, who had been engaged by SNC-Lavalin to do research in Libya in July, continued renting private planes for projects endorsed by two SNC-Lavalin executives who have since resigned, Riadh Ben Aïssa and Stéphane Roy. She used those planes to fly back and forth to Mexico, and was exploring possible work for SNC on water-treatment projects when she was arrested.
Vanier denies the allegations.
Roy, then SNC-Lavalin's financial controller, hired Vanier in July 2011 to travel to Libya for a "fact-find report" for the company, which had billions of dollars in construction projects procured under the Gadhafi regime. In November, Roy went to meet Vanier in Mexico City to explore potential projects. Roy arrived the day Vanier was arrested and was in a car with Vanier's co-accused in the alleged Gadhafi plot when they were arrested the following day.
Roy left SNC-Lavalin in February 2012. RCMP has asked Vanier about his involvement.
Riadh Ben Aïssa
The former SNC-Lavalin executive vice-president of construction was responsible for procuring billions of dollars of business for the company's Libya operations, including many projects awarded by one of Gadhafi's sons, Saadi.
Ben Aïssa also left the company in February. He was arrested in Switzerland in mid-April and held on accusations of corrupting a public official, fraud and money laundering tied to his dealings in North Africa.
Saadi Gadhafi, the son of former Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, fled to Niger after Tripoli, the Libyan capital, fell to revolutionary forces. Canadian Cyndy Vanier has been held on suspicion she was the ringleader of a group intending to sneak Saadi Gadhafi and his family into Mexico.
The Canadian security contractor was hired by Vanier to provide security during the "fact-finding" mission to Libya. Peters, who had served as a bodyguard for Saadi Gadhafi, told CBC News that a plan to move the man he calls "The Boss" and his family to Mexico was abandoned in June 2011 when it was deemed to be illegal.
[Reporters: John Nicol & Dave Seglins/CBC]