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'I take responsibility' for ethics breach in handling SNC-Lavalin case: Trudeau

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday took full responsibility for violating the Conflict of Interest Act while handling the corruption case of SNC-Lavalin company.

This comes hours after Canada Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion has accused Trudeau of violating the act by trying to influence then-Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and get her to overrule an order to not grant a deferred prosecution agreement to the Quebec-based engineering firm.

SNC Lavlin has been accused of corruption cases in various countries including India, Bangladesh Canada and Mexico. In 2015, the Canadian authorities charged SNC-Lavalin with paying 47.7 million Canadian dollars in bribes to officials in Libya to win contracts there, and of defrauding the Libyan government of 129.8 million Canadian dollars. However, the defected ministers have claimed that the government is trying to protect SNC Lavlin through lobbying and illegal means, reported CNN.

In his report, Dion said: "The evidence showed there were many ways in which Mr. Trudeau, either directly or through the actions of those under his direction, sought to influence the attorney general."

"The prime minister, directly and through his senior officials, used various means to exert influence over Ms. Wilson-Raybould. The authority of the prime minister and his office was used to circumvent, undermine and ultimately attempt to discredit the decision of the director of public prosecutions as well as the authority of Ms. Wilson-Raybould as the Crown's chief law officer," he added.

Though Trudeau has taken full responsibility but said he "disagreed" with Dion's report.

"We recognize the way that this happened shouldn't have happened. I take responsibility for the mistakes that I made. Where I disagree with the commissioner is where he says that any contact with the attorney general on this issue was improper," Trudeau added.," Sputnik quoted Trudeau as saying.

He defended his action by saying, "My objective was, and always will be, to stand up for people's jobs and livelihoods across the country while upholding the rule of law and respecting the role of the Attorney General. When thousands of jobs are on the line and communities stand to suffer, it is the government's responsibility to stand up for them. himself by saying.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, August 15 2019. 05:07 IST
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