Dec. 18 (UPI) -- Canadian construction company SNC-Lavalin pleaded guilty to one count of fraud for work in Libya during the Gaddafi era, and will pay a $280 million fine, prosecutors said on Wednesday.
Other criminal charges against the company will be dropped, prosecutors in Montreal said. The Montreal-based company earned over $2 billion in Libyan construction projects over a decade and made over $127 million in profit, but admitted it and two of its subsidiaries paid about $47 million in bribes to Saadi Gadhafi, the son of former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, prosecutor Richard Roy said. The bribes, paid between 2001 and 2011, included parties, gifts and a Toronto condo.
Quebec Superior Court Judge Claude Leblanc accepted the guilty plea in court. The company must hire an independent monitor to provide initial and annual reports, with summaries of those documents posted on the company's website, and make changes to its internal compliance and ethics programs.
In 2015, the company and subsidiaries were charged with several counts of fraud and corruption of a foreign public official. The case achieved notoriety in Canada after former Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould said she was pressured by people within Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's inner circle to use a new legal tool similar to a plea deal to settle criminal charges against SNC-Lavalin.
Trading of shares of SNC-Lavalin on the Toronto Stock Exchange was halted Wednesday until the guilty plea was announced. They rose quickly when trading was permitted, rising 28.94 percent, to $31.10 per share.