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RCMP Launches Investigation into Alleged Prosecutorial Obstruction in SNC-Lavalin Affair

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After nearly four years since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was found to have violated federal ethics laws by pressuring a former justice minister to intervene in the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin, the RCMP has reportedly initiated an investigation into allegations of prosecutorial obstruction related to the affair. The investigation was revealed in response to an access-to-information request filed by Democracy Watch co-founder Duff Conacher. While some requested records were denied due to the ongoing investigation, Conacher was advised to resubmit the request once court proceedings concluded.

Conacher’s access-to-information request sought records regarding decisions made in relation to the examination, subsequent investigations, and prosecution of individuals involved in the allegations that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, former finance minister Bill Morneau, some staff members, and former Clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick obstructed justice by pressuring then-Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould to halt the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin.

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The RCMP’s last public statement on the SNC-Lavalin affair was in 2019 when they stated they were carefully examining the matter and would take appropriate action as required. This came after the federal ethics commissioner concluded that Trudeau had breached the Conflict of Interest Act by inappropriately pressuring Wilson-Raybould to interfere with the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin.

The SNC-Lavalin affair began in February 2015 when the RCMP laid fraud and corruption charges against the Montreal-based engineering firm related to its activities in Libya. In 2018, the Public Prosecution Service of Canada rejected SNC-Lavalin’s request for a remediation agreement, which would have allowed the company to avoid a criminal trial by admitting responsibility, paying a fine, and implementing oversight measures.

In September of that year, Wilson-Raybould claimed that Trudeau had asked her to find a solution for SNC-Lavalin, raising concerns of political interference. Despite the company’s threats to split and divest its Canadian operations, the prosecution service once again declined their request for a remediation agreement. Wilson-Raybould was subsequently moved from her position in January 2019 and replaced as justice minister by David Lametti.

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