Former head of Federal Bridge Corp. pleads guilty to kickbacks over SNC-Lavalin bridge contract
Chretien-appointee pleads guilty to fraud for SNC-Lavalin bridge contract
The former head of Canada's Federal Bridge Corporation has pleaded guilty to fraud-related charges.
Michel Fournier, 65, was sentenced to five and a half years behind bars.
The charges were linked to allegations of kickbacks and the contract awarded to SNC-Lavalin to refurbish Montreal's Jacques-Cartier bridge.
His arrest was the result of an RCMP investigation into millions of dollars in payments to a Swiss bank account Fournier opened in 2000.
The Shawinigan, Que.-born Fournier was chief of staff to Liberal party leader Jean Chretien in the early 1990s.
When Chretien became prime minister, he appointed Fournier to lead the FBC, a Crown corporation which oversees the awarding of huge megaproject contracts across Canada.
In addition to his role atop the Federal Bridge Corporation, Fournier was also the head of the Jacques Cartier Bridge Corporation at the time of the events in question.
On Thursday, Fournier pleaded guilty to fraud and money laundering in relation to an SNC-Lavalin contract with the Jacques Cartier Bridge Corporation in the year 2000, and acknowledged having received $2.3 million in kickbacks. He claims to have only $775,000 left after squandering the rest in high-risk investments.
He was led away in handcuffs after expressing regret for his transgression.
Charges against his wife Judith Barkley Fournier, who has since separated from the former notary and travel agency owner, have been dropped.