CBC is reporting that the government of Switzerland, which arrested former SNC-Lavalin executive Riadh Ben Aissa last spring, has formally charged him with money-laundering relating to $139 million in payments which left the company and ended up in Swiss bank accounts. This is quite a complex multi-state investigation involving the RCMP, Swiss authorities, Tunisia, Libya and the British Virgin Islands. There are allegations of corruption of public officials being thrown around as well.
In the section on corruption in the book, I comment on how the OECD (the sponsoring organization of the 1998 anti-corruption treaty that preceded the UNCAC) has been critical of Canada both for the manner in which it implemented the treaty and its half-hearted approach to prosecuting. Of course, that has changed in the last couple of years, with both investigations and charges happening. These comments in the CBC story were particularly interesting:
An expert from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development cited by Swiss broadcaster RTS criticized Canada's inability to clamp down on errant multinational businesses. Mark Pieth, chairman of the OECD's working group on bribery in international business, said: "At the OECD, we had criticized Canada for its weak legislation and its way of combating corruption in big enterprises." But Pieth said the ongoing investigation into SNC-Lavalin "is a positive sign."