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Former SNC-Lavalin execs, lawyer face charges

Two former SNC-Lavalin executives are facing additional legal troubles today, after both Quebec's anti-corruption unit and the RCMP unit that deals with foreign corruption announced new charges.

Quebec anti-corruption unit, RCMP announce separate charges

Two former SNC-Lavalin executives are facing additional legal troubles today, after both Quebec's anti-corruption unit and the RCMP unit that deals with foreign corruption announced new charges.

Quebec's anti-corruption unit announced Wednesday that Stephane Roy, a former vice-president at SNC-Lavalin, was facing 11 charges related to the construction of the McGill University superhospital project in Montreal.

Police allege that ex-SNC-Lavalin executives funnelled money to former hospital officials in exchange for the $1.3-billion contract.

Several others, including former SNC executives and hospital officials, are also facing charges in connection to the alleged fraud related to the superhospital contract.

RCMP undercover sting

Later Wednesday, RCMP investigators announced new charges against another former SNC executive and a lawyer.

RCMP Assistant Commissioner Gilles Michaud, head of the national division dealing with sensitive investigations, confirmed to CBC that a sting operation was used to unravel an alleged conpiracy."I can confirm the charges stem from an undercover operation," Michaud said.

Sami Abdellah Bebawi, a former executive vice-president at the construction and engineering firm, ​and prominent Montreal tax lawyer Andreas Kyres have been charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly "trying to obtain a statement from Riadh Ben Aissa in exchange of {sic} a sum of money," the RCMP said in a statement Wednesday. 

Kyres was also charged with extortion.

Bebawi was already facing charges of fraud, money laundering, possession of the proceeds of crime and bribing foreign officials.

In both cases, the latest allegations came to light during the "ongoing criminal investigation of former SNC-Lavalin employees for their involvement in corruption of foreign public officials," an RCMP release said.

RCMP said the charges are related to efforts by the two men to allegedly influence statements made by Riadh Ben Aïssa, former executive vice-president of construction at SNC-Lavalin.

Ben Aissa, who replaced Bebawi as SNC's top construction executive, was arrested in Switzerland in 2012. The former construction executive is awaiting resolution of criminal charges and is also awaiting extradition back to Canada.

Changed statements alleged

The fresh charges by the RCMP, according to a source familiar with the investigation, relate to allegations that Bebawi and the lawyer tried to get Ben Aïssa to change statements he made between April 2012 and January 2014 — a time when Ben Aïssa was in custody in Switzerland being questioned by Swiss police and prosecutors.

Ben Aissa was being interrogated by Swiss investigators about his role in the company and its history of business practices abroad.

During the same period, some other former SNC executives also travelled to Switzerland for interviews at the request of authorities there.

The RCMP's national division is involved in the case because it deals with allegations of foreign corruption.

Police said there is a nationwide warrant out for Bebawi's arrest stemming from previous charges, and another has been issued due to the latest charges. 

Kyres is due in court on Sept. 18.

With files from CBC's Dave Seglins and The Canadian Press

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