Mounties raid SNC-Lavalin heaquarters

April 13, 2012 at 10:49 PM

MONTREAL, April 13 (UPI) -- The Royal Canadian Mounted Police armed with a search warrant raided the headquarters of the engineering firm SNC-Lavalin in Montreal Friday.

Authorities are investigating the company's disclosure March 26 that $56 million was paid to unnamed "agents" in North Africa to help secure contracts for two projects with the approval of Chief Executive Officer Pierre Duhaime, The (Montreal) Gazette reported.

The total included $22.5 million paid through SNC-Lavalin's office in Tunis, the newspaper said.

SNC-Lavalin has not revealed what projects the payments were linked to other than it "does not believe" they were in Libya where the company had ties to ousted strongman Moammar Gadhafi.

Neil Linsdell of Versant Partners called the raid a "non-event," given that SNC-Lavalin had already revealed they were handing over the results of their internal investigation to police.

"We didn't know it was to the RCMP, but when some of the [dubious] payments were made in Tunisia, it was bound to be an international investigation," Linsdell said.

"It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone, but when the company has police pulling up outside its office doors, people get nervous."

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