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CIDA bars SNC-Lavalin from bidding on projects

A pedestrian walks past the SNC-Lavalin Group Inc., headquarters in Montreal, in this file photo.

© Christinne Muschi / Reuters/REUTERS

The World Bank's record-setting sanction against SNC-Lavalin Inc. has resulted in another setback for the embattled Montreal engineering giant, with the Canadian International Development Agency announcing that the punishment will also bar SNC from bidding on the agency's projects.

A spokesman for CIDA said that companies bidding on the agency's projects must prove they are not under sanction by groups such as the World Bank, which last week announced that it barred SNC-Lavalin Inc. and 100 of its subsidiaries for a decade. The World Bank sanction, which was part of a settlement with SNC, stemmed from an alleged conspiracy in Bangladesh, where company officials were accused of trying to secure a $50-million consultancy contract for a new bridge by bribing the then-communications-minister.

"Firms or individuals who have been sanctioned by a development organization, including the World Bank, for engaging in corrupt or fraudulent practices, will be ineligible to bid on CIDA-funded projects," CIDA spokesman Nicolas Doire said in an e-mailed statement.

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CIDA's ban, though damaging to SNC's reputation, appears as though it will have little affect on the blue-chip firm's bottom line. SNC hasn't been awarded a contract for a CIDA-funded project since 2008, when it was awarded several jobs, including a contract for an irrigation system in Afghanistan and a contract to assist officials in Vietnam with a pollution-prevention program. CIDA's database of projects shows that the four most recent projects SNC has been awarded are worth an estimated $100-million in grants – which represents about 1 per cent of the company's revenues from 2012.

Leslie Quinton, a spokeswoman for SNC, said the company had yet to be contacted by CIDA and had expected to negotiate with CIDA before such a prohibition would be enforced.

The CIDA contracts that SNC has traditionally sought – primarily environmental monitoring and protection projects – have become less of a priority for the federal government over the past several years, according to Ms. Quinton.

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National reporter

Greg has been a reporter with The Globe since 2005. He has probed a wide variety of topics, including police malfeasance, corruption and international corporate bribery. He was written extensively about the Airbus affair, offshore tax evasion and, most recently, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and his criminal ties. More

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