A major corporate scandal is developing in Canada according to press reports, after Quebec anti-corruption police arrested the former chief executive officer (CEO) of engineering group SNC-Lavalin (SNC). The police have also launched efforts to extradite another former company executive who is in prison in Switzerland.
Officers from Unité permanente anticorruption (UPAC), Quebec’s anti-corruption squad, arrested Pierre Duhaime at his home on 28 November. He faces three charges, of fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud and using forged documents, related to the engineering firm’s contract to design, build and maintain the McGill University health centre’s new C$1.3bn hospital in Montreal. Former SNC executive Riadh Ben Aissa, who led the company’s construction business worldwide, faces similar charges.
The company itself has not been charged with any wrongdoing. It has attempted to ring-fence the actions of its two former executives, who have both been dismissed, calling them isolated incidents by individuals who are no longer with SNC. Duhaine stepped down in March with a C$5m severance award, to be paid over two years. Robert Card, a US engineering industry veteran, took over the position of CEO in September and the board is dealing with the fallout of police investigations while he attends to business matters
Commenting on the case Anthony Scilipoti, vice-president at Toronto’s Veritas Investment Research, said: “This is not contained. It’s not isolated,” adding that he had never seen anything of similar magnitude. Earlier this year Veritas completed an analysis of SNC’s own internal investigation into C$56m worth of improperly documented agent payments this year. Duhaime and Ben Aissa were dismissed after it was found that they were involved in the untraceable payments to commercial agents for two specific projects.
The separatist Parti Québécois (PQ) government has requested that independent auditors review the operations and books of the McGill health centre, reports Montreal’s La Presse newspaper. The auditors must judge whether the institution itself, which oversees six hospitals in Montreal, was a victim of administrative problems or deliberate fraud, according to the report. They are expected to deliver a report in the next few days.
Rising interest rates, excitement around blockchain use cases and cross-border payments were all hot topics at this year's AFP conference in San Deigo.
The US dollar and debt yields falling on the North Korea missile test, treasury being a top target for cyber criminals and why treasurers aren't into real-time payments all hit the latest headlines in the world of treasury this week. Don't miss our ten top news stories from around the world.
Treasurers are being expected to do more work with fewer resources than ever before, so it is little wonder that the automation of day-to-day operations was highly discussed on the second day of EuroFinance, the annual treasury event held in Barcelona this week.
Chicago based Treasury Management System (TMS) vendor GTreasury and Sydney based risk and treasury management vendor Visual Risk have joined forces in a strategic alliance to ... read more