Canada's SNC Lavalin hires ex-Siemens compliance executive

TORONTO Fri Feb 22, 2013 2:05pm EST

TORONTO Feb 22 (Reuters) - SNC Lavalin Group Inc, the Canadian construction and engineering company mired in a widening bribery scandal, has hired a former Siemens AG compliance officer to help guide it on issues of corporate ethics, SNC said on Friday.

Andreas Pohlmann, who will join SCN on March 1, served as compliance chief at the German engineering company between 2007 and 2010 after Siemens was embroiled in an international bribery scandal.

Siemens paid $1.6 billion to U.S. and European authorities in 2008 to resolve allegations it paid bribes around the world from Iraq to Argentina in the early part of the last decade.

SNC, Canada's largest engineering and construction company, has been embroiled in an ethics and corruption scandal for more than a year after it uncovered tens of millions of dollars in mysterious payments.

SNC's former head of construction was charged in Switzerland last November on allegations of money laundering and corruption in relation to payments made in Libya. Investigators have also widened their probe to include the company's dealings in Algeria, according to reports this week.

Pohlmann, a lawyer with 25 years of experience in the field, currently heads compliance and governance consulting firm Pohlmann & Company.

"He has lived through experiences similar to ours, albeit on a different scale, so we are confident that his expertise will serve us well in the months to come as we move beyond the past and towards the type of world-class compliance system that he helped install at Siemens," said Robert G. Card, chief executive of SNC Lavalin.