Trudeau under fire over interference allegations in fraud case

Trudeau's office pressured Justice Minister to drop case against company with deep Liberal ties

Trudeau under fire over interference allegations in fraud case

The Globe reports that SNC-Lavalin repeatedly lobbied Justin Trudeau's aides for a deal and Trudeau's office leaned on Wilson-Raybould to make it happen.

In the bombshell report from The Globe and Mail we now understand truly what she meant, because when the now former justice minister refused to drop the fraud and corruption trial against SNC Lavalin, she was sacked.

As justice minister, Wilson-Raybould could have gotten involved in the case against the company by directing federal prosecutors to negotiate a "remediation agreement", a way of undoing damage without admitting the company itself was at fault for things particular employees did.

The company, based in Canada's Quebec province, was charged with corruption and fraud in connection with payments of almost 36 million US dollars in bribes to public officials in the former Libyan government of late leader Muammar Gaddafi and defrauded Libyan organizations of an estimated 98 million dollars between 2001 and 2011.

A guilty verdict on bribery and corruption charges would result in SNC-Lavalin being barred from government contracts in Canada for 10 years.

However, Rankin was not optimistic that Wilson-Raybould would answer questions about the case, even if the committee votes in favour of a study, as she was shuffled out of the justice portfolio and named minister of veterans affairs last month, a move widely seen as a demotion.

Rudd also rejected characterizations that Wilson-Raybould was demoted. On the matter of issuing directives to the director of public prosecutions (or "DPP"), the document says: "It is appropriate for the attorney general to consult with cabinet colleagues before exercising his or her powers under the DPP Act in respect of any criminal proceedings, in order to fully assess the public policy considerations relevant to specific prosecutorial decisions".

"On one hand, it was meant to enhance integrity in government by statutorily ensuring independence of the prosecution decision-making function from inappropriate political control, direction and influence", the book says.

"The director of public prosecutions has independence in the sense that the attorney general can not give a direction, whether it is a broad policy direction or a specific direction on any given case, without that direction being in writing and Gazetted", Wild said. She resisted those efforts, the newspaper said.

This distinction is known as the Shawcross principle, named after a former British attorney general: cabinet members can give advice to the attorney general, but not instructions or even pressure.

The accusation as reported by the Globe and Mail that officials attempted to influence the Justice Minister.

None of that is likely to matter with opposition politicians, who maintain the whole affair smells like obstruction of justice.

Tory Leader Andrew Scheer also suggested Friday morning that his party is looking at pursuing unspecified "legal avenues" if the governing Liberals "continue to cover this up".

The list includes Lametti, the prime minister's chief of staff Katie Telford and the prime minister's principal secretary Gerald Butts.

NDP MPs Charlie Angus and Nathan Cullen on Friday wrote to ethics commissioner Mario Dion, suggesting the allegations could represent a breach of a provision of the Conflict of Interest Act that prohibits public office holders from giving "preferential treatment to any person or organization".

"If he truly wants to clear this up and believes there's been no wrongdoing, he should welcome an investigation from the ethics commissioner".

Both Scheer and Singh argue the issue cuts to the heart of our democracy and independent system of justice.

"The allegations that we are hearing in the last 24 hours are unprecedented", Scheer said.

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