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OECD concerned over Trudeau's meddling in prosecution against top engineering firm

Press Trust of India  |  Ottawa 

The international economic group that oversees global anti-cases has expressed concern over allegations that Canadian interfered in a criminal prosecution against a top engineering firm accused of bribing Libyan officials between 2001 and 2011.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), said in a statement that it had noted the accusations that and staff in his office tried to get former to let SNC-Lavalin, the Quebec-based engineering giant, negotiate a remediation agreement rather than pursue the firm on criminal charges of and fraud.

is one of 44 nations that in 1999 signed the legally binding Anti-Convention, which established international standards to criminalise the bribery of foreign officials.

The statement issued by the working group of said it had already written to the prime minister's office and was keeping a close eye on investigations by the justice committee and the

It said has pledged to update the group on the matter at the working group's meeting to be held in June.

Opposition lawmakers accuse of trying to cover up an attempt by officials to help the SNC-Lavalin, which could be banned from bidding for federal contracts for a decade if found guilty.

The scandal has already cost Trudeau his closest who resigned last month but denied he had or others had improperly pressured Wilson-Raybould.

Trudeau has rejected calls to resign over the scandal, saying he and his staff always acted properly and that Canadians will get to have their say on the matter at the in October.

Last year, the Liberals introduced a new law to allow the to use what are known internationally as deferred-prosecution agreements (DPAs).

These agreements shelve a criminal prosecution of a company in exchange for the company admitting wrongdoing, paying fines, giving up any money it earned in the commission of the crime it is accused of and agreeing to be monitored for a period of time.

If the company fulfils the terms of the agreement, the criminal penalties can be dropped. If the company fails to keep its end of the bargain, the charges can still go forward.

Last fall, the in decided was not eligible for a remediation agreement. Wilson-Raybould, then the attorney general, decided not to use her authority to overrule that decision.

Wilson-Raybould said that after that, multiple people from Trudeau's office, the minister's office and the all put sustained, improper pressure on her to change her mind.

She said that when she wouldn't do so, she was shuffled out as and to the lower-profile job of She ultimately resigned from cabinet entirely.

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

First Published: Tue, March 12 2019. 20:16 IST
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