Canadian firms operating abroad should obey the law, Trudeau says

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canadian companies

MONTREAL — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canadian companies operating abroad are expected to obey the law after a Bombardier employee in the Swedish offices of the plane and train maker was detained Friday in pretrial custody on suspicion of aggravated bribery.

Evgeny Pavlov, a Russian national living in Stockholm, was one of several Bombardier employees “suspected to have been colluding” with Azerbaijan railway authorities “in order to adapt a contract” to fit Bombardier, Swedish prosecutor Thomas Forsberg said.

Forsberg said Pavlov worked with Bombardier Transportation Sweden AB. On LinkedIn, Pavlov described himself as “Head of sales, Marketing and Country co-ordinator for the north region.”

Pavlov was ordered held in pretrial custody for two weeks to prevent him from fleeing or tampering with evidence. Two others were briefly detained during the week but were released, Forsberg told The Associated Press. Both remain suspects while the investigation continues. Formal charges have not yet been made.

Trudeau was asked about the legal controversy facing Bombardier, a company that the federal government has heavily invested in.

“The Canadian government expects Canadian companies and Canadians working abroad to uphold the highest standards of ethical and legal behaviour,” said Trudeau, who was attending a global oil conference in Houston.

He said he didn’t believe the case has any bearing on his government’s decision to offer the company’s aeronautics division a $372.5-million loan last month to support its CSeries and Global 7000 jet programs.

“At this point I can’t predict that it will have any impact,” he said. “I think that it’s very clear that this was an entirely separate issue.”

Pavlov’s lawyer, Cristina Berger, said her client denies any wrongdoing and it will be up to the Stockholm District Court to decide March 24 whether to remand him in custody.

Bombardier Transportation confirmed that employees working in its office in Sweden have been questioned by police and it said it is co-operating with Swedish prosecutors. But it’s “premature” to comment on the outcome of the investigation or court proceedings, the company added.

“As always, we are committed to operating in full compliance with all legal rules and requirements and our own high ethical standards,” Claas Belling, a spokesperson for Bombardier Transportation, said in an email.

Forsberg said emails seized in October 2016 during a search of Bombardier offices in Sweden were considered evidence in the case. He said the suspicion was that Azerbaijani officials co-operated with Montreal-based Bombardier (TSX:BBD.B) to “receive rewards for having favoured the Bombardier contract.”

“Despite the fact that Bombardier was in fifth place in terms of price, it won the contract in 2013 and competitors with better prices were disqualified by the railway authority in Azerbaijan,” Forsberg said.

In 2013, Bombardier was part of a consortium awarded a $288-million contract to supply signalling equipment for a 503-kilometre track along a corridor connecting Asia and Europe to Azerbaijan Railways. Bombardier then said it was its “first major signalling contract in Azerbaijan.”

Forsberg said Azerbaijani companies made $56 million in earnings from the contract.

Karl Moore, professor at Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University, said he doesn’t think Pavlov’s arrest will affect Bombardier’s ability to win government contracts in Canada. The Quebec and federal governments have placed restrictions on companies whose directors have been convicted of violating the Canadian Criminal Code.

“That’s a very small possibility at this point so I don’t think it’s a big worry,” said Moore on the company’s future ability to win government contracts. “But we’ll see how things unfold.”

Michel Nadeau, executive director of the Institute for Governance of Private and Public Organizations, said he too doesn’t think the arrest will affect the company’s relationship with governments in Canada.

“I would say it’s part of the daily life of big companies that do business with governments, to be, eventually now and then, accused of corruption,” he said.

Nadeau used to be president of the investment arm of Quebec’s pension fund, which in 2015 bought a 30 per cent stake in the holding company of Bombardier Transportation — the company’s rail division, headquartered in Berlin.

— With files from Julien Arsenault in Montreal and The Associated Press

Just Posted

Accused murderer tells all to Mr. Big undercover officer

Joshua Frank tells undercover police officer he shot the Klaus family

Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre prepares to open

Non-profit will run the facility and agencies will provide staff

A slow economic recovery isn’t yet loosening Central Alberta’s tight job market

Job-seekers at Red Deer fair say there are still few openings

Rocky Mountain House man arrested for child luring

A 30-year-old Rocky Mountain House man was arrested after allegedly having explicit… Continue reading

Parkinson association will close offices but maintain services

Offices closing in Red Deer, Medicine Hat and Lethbridge

WATCH: Central Middle School students’ Christmas tree

A group of Central Middle School students are set to show off… Continue reading

Red Deerian honours her brother who died in a motorcycle collision

Houaida Haddad is encouraging Red Deer residents to donate blood

Red Deer County firefighters to be recognized for Waterton help

RCMP brass will give formal recognition Monday

Ron James tries to lighten humanity’s load through humour

The comedian returns to Red Deer for shows Dec. 1 and 2

100+ Women Red Deer donate to Christmas Bureau

About $14,000 will help with Christmas hampers and toys

Semi collides with vehicle on Highway 2 north of Ponoka

Members of the Ponoka Integrated Traffic Unit dealt with a call on Highway 2 north of Ponoka

After 70 years, Red Deer veteran still remembers his traumatic war experience

Frank Krepps feels lucky to have survived the Second World War

Merritt Mountie charged with assault

Charges are in relation to an incident in May at the detachment, B.C. Prosecution Service said

Blackfalds RCMP arrest “armed and dangerous” man

A 38-year-old man, who police identified as armed and dangerous, was arrested… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month