SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. is walking back a statement by its CEO, who said last week he never cited the protection of 9,000 Canadian jobs as a reason the construction giant should be granted a remediation agreement.
Neil Bruce told The Canadian Press last Wednesday that if SNC-Lavalin is convicted of criminal charges and barred from bidding on federal contracts its workers would end up working for the Montreal-based company’s foreign rivals.
The charges stem from allegations the engineering firm paid millions of dollars in bribes to win government business in Libya between 2001 and 2011.
In a statement posted to its website Monday afternoon, SNC-Lavalin now says an agreement to avoid criminal prosecution would be the best way to protect the nearly 9,000 jobs held by its employees in Canada.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has repeatedly held up potential job losses as the main reason he and other top officials spoke with former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould about her decision not to intervene after federal prosecutors declined to negotiate a deferred prosecution agreement with SNC-Lavalin.
Wilson-Raybould, who resigned from cabinet last month, has suggested political considerations rather than jobs were behind the alleged pressuring by the Prime Minister’s Office to hammer out an agreement with the company.