Bangladeshi government accuses SNC exec of bribery-report

Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:28am EST

* Bangladesh probe alleges bribery, Globe and Mail reports

* Probe recommends prosecuting 3 former SNC executives

* President of SNC's Candu unit leaves company

* Allegations latest in mounting company scandal

* SNC shares fall nearly 1 percent

TORONTO, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Bangladeshi authorities have issued a report accusing a senior SNC Lavalin Group Inc executive of corruption, just after he left the engineering company, the Globe and Mail newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Bangladesh's Anti-Corruption Commission has accused Kevin Wallace, former president of SNC's Candu Energy Inc nuclear power unit, with conspiring to bribe government officials, the newspaper said, citing a commission report.

Wallace, who previously led several international construction projects at SNC, resigned from the Montreal-based company in early December, the Globe reported.

SNC was not immediately available for comment. Attempts to reach Wallace were unsuccessful.

The report is the latest development in a mounting corruption scandal at SNC. Earlier this month, the company said it would suspend payments to its former chief executive officer, following his arrest on fraud charges by Quebec police.

Pierre Duhaime left SNC in March after an internal probe found that $56 million in company funds had been paid to unknown agents on projects that did not exist.

Quebec's anti-corruption squad said in November that SNC's former head of construction, Riadh Ben Aissa, faced the same charges as Duhaime.

Ben Aissa was arrested this past spring in Switzerland. According to media reports, Swiss police are investigating $139 million in payments to a Swiss bank account tied to contracts in Libya.

The Bangladesh probe is related to a bridge project, for which the World Bank withdrew a $1.2 billion line of credit in June, saying it had credible evidence of a high-level corruption conspiracy among Bangladeshi government officials.

Two former executives at SNC, which had bid to supervise the contractor on the project, appeared in a Toronto court in July, accused of bribing officials in Bangladesh. Ramesh Shah and Mohammed Ismail were arrested by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in February following a 2011 raid on SNC offices.

The Bangladesh anti-corruption report recommends the prosecution of several Bangladeshi officials, as well as Wallace, Shah and Ismail, the Globe and Mail reported.

Shares of SNC fell 0.9 percent to C$40.69 in morning Toronto Stock Exchange trading.

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