SNC-Lavalin loses court bid for special agreement to avoid criminal prosecution

OTTAWA — SNC-Lavalin has a lost a court bid to have the public prosecutor overturn its refusal to negotiate an agreement that would see the company avoid a criminal trial.

In a ruling today, the Federal Court of Canada tossed out the Montreal-based engineering company’s plea for judicial review of the 2018 decision by the federal director of public prosecutions.

SNC-Lavalin faces legal trouble over allegations it paid millions of dollars in bribes to obtain government business in Libya — a case that has prompted a political storm for the Trudeau Liberals.

The company unsuccessfully pressed the director of prosecutions to negotiate a “remediation agreement,” a legal means of holding an organization to account for wrongdoing without a formal finding of guilt.

The director told SNC-Lavalin last year that negotiating a remediation agreement would be inappropriate in this case, prompting the company to ask the Federal Court for an order requiring talks.

In its ruling, the Federal Court said the law is clear that prosecutorial discretion is not subject to judicial review, except for cases where there is an abuse of process.

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