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RCMP lays corruption charges after landmark bribery case

The RCMP has laid corruption charges against two Americans and one British national as part of a widening probe into allegations that a Canadian firm planned to hand out millions in bribes in India.

The national police force has issued Canadawide warrants against three individuals linked to Cryptometrics Canada Inc.: ex-chief executive officer Robert Barra and ex-chief operating officer Dario Berini – both American nationals – and former Cryptometrics agent Shailesh Govindia, who is a British national. The trio were charged under the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act.

The Mounties are "currently in the process of trying to locate" the three businessmen, a spokesperson for the RCMP said.

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The charges come after Nazir Karigar, a former executive director at Cryptometrics, was sentenced to three years in prison for his role in the plan to bribe Indian officials, including a government minister.

Mr. Karigar approached the Ottawa office of Cryptometrics in 2005 with an offer to help obtain a contract to supply Air India with a security system valued at $100-million (U.S.).

Prosecutors could not demonstrate during the trial that any of the money had, in fact, changed hands, and Cryptometrics was not ultimately awarded the contract.

However, Justice Charles Hackland ruled there was enough evidence to show that Mr. Karigar and others at Cryptometrics intended to make the payments.

Mr. Karigar was the first individual to be convicted under Canada's Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act, with his sentence setting a precedent for future cases.

"We have a mandate to investigate domestic and international allegations of corruption of foreign public officials. This investigation demonstrates the RCMP's commitment to combatting international corruption. Leaving these crimes unchallenged can jeopardize Canada's reputation as a fair and transparent society," RCMP Assistant Commissioner Gilles Michaud said in a news release.

Peter Dent, president of Transparency International Canada, said the charges are a positive signal about the willingness of law-enforcement authorities to enforce Canada's anti-corruption laws.

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"It sends a real message to foreign nationals who work for Canadian companies … that they can face Canadian justice," he said.

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About the Author
Parliamentary reporter

Daniel Leblanc studied political science at the University of Ottawa and journalism at Carleton University. He became a full-time reporter in 1998, first at the Ottawa Citizen and then in the Ottawa bureau of The Globe and Mail. More

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