Former SNC-Lavalin exec Riadh Ben Aissa appears in court in Montreal

Riadh Ben Aissa appeared in a Montreal courtroom Thursday to be formally charged with fraud and conspiracy in connection with McGill University's superhospital project.

Former executive VP at engineering giant facing 16 charges, including fraud and conspiracy

SNC-Lavalin’s former executive vice president of construction Riadh Ben Aissa was convicted in Switzerland last month of arranging approximately $130 million in illicit payments to help the company win billions of dollars worth of construction mega projects in Libya. (Radio-Canada)

Former SNC-Lavalin executive vice-president Riadh Ben Aissa appeared in a Montreal courtroom today, to be formally charged with 16 counts, including fraud and conspiracy, in connection with McGill University's superhospital project.

The company's former construction head was extradited to Canada from Switzerland yesterday to face the charges.

He wore a track suit to his hearing in the Montreal courthouse and showed no visible emotion as his charges were read.

Ben Aissa's bail hearing has been set for next Tuesday, but he'll be back in court Monday for a pre-trial conference.

That hearing will involve all the people alleged to have participated in the MUHC fraud, except former CEO Arthur Porter who is still being held in La Joya prison in Panama while he fights his extradition to Canada.

Extradition from Switzerland

Ben Aissa's return to Montreal came two weeks after Swiss authorities announced they had accepted an out-of-court settlement Aug. 4.

Ben Aissa pleaded guilty to charges of bribery, money laundering and corruption tied to SNC-Lavalin business in Libya under the Gadhafi regime.  In exchange, he was sentenced to the 29 months he'd already served in custody in Switzerland.

In Canada, authorities laid 16 fraud-related charges against Ben Aissa in February 2013 in connection with the construction of the new McGill University Health Centre, one of Canada's largest infrastructure projects.

He and several other people, including former SNC chief executive Pierre Duhaime, are alleged to have committed fraud of $22.5 million in exchange for the company landing the $1.3-billion contract.