My case against SNC-Lavalin: A Tale of Coverups and Business Corruption
The corruption began in 1981 when The SNC Group (the present-day SNC-Lavalin Inc.) recruited U.K.-trained mechanical engineer Robert Chisholm direct from London, in the U.K., to work for them in Montreal. They had sent people to the U.K. to interview Mr. Chisholm and others.
The corruption described in this article is completely different from the corruption widely reported since 2010, concerning bribes and over-payments that the company made in Libya. Mainstream media have consistently refused to investigate and report anything whenever Mr. Chisholm raised it, starting as far back as his wrongful dismissal in July 1982.
They had made a job offer to Mr. Chisholm, dated July 27th 1981, which appeared to promise work for at least 24 months. Here are two quotes from it:-
“Our payment of relocation expenses as indicated above is made on the assumption that you will be a long term employee of SNC. If you wish to terminate your employment, for any reason whatsoever, before twenty four (24) months from its commencement in Canada, you hereby agree to reimburse to your employer a pro-rata amount of the total relocation expenses that have been paid by the Company.”
- and -
“This offer is conditional to your obtaining “landed immigrants” status or “bona fide work permit” from the Canadian Immigrant Authorities.”
15 weeks after commencing work he was laid off and then was shocked to find that he could not even get unemployment insurance benefits on account of not having worked for the minimum 20 weeks then required to be eligible, as a “new entrant” to the Canadian work force. He was told nothing about this “20 week rule” by the company or anybody else prior to arriving in Canada.
For this and other reasons he was forced to sue the company for wrongful dismissal. After many delays for frivolous reasons instigated by SNC’s lawyers, the case only got to Court in 1991 – over 8 years after commencing legal action.
The court found in Mr. Chisholm’s favour but the company initially refused to pay; as a result, they had an entire floor of office furniture seized and then sold from their downtown Montreal H.Q. When they still refused to pay, they had their Bank Account at the Royal Bank of Canada seized and then they paid up a few weeks later.
The Court settlement was small and right from the start, back in 1982, SNC clearly behaved like this for the purpose of constantly forcing up Mr. Chisholm’s legal bills in an attempt to bankrupt him.
SNC defence lawyers Dunton Rainville, in Montreal, also claimed that they had to hold back 30% of the Court settlement to cover an income tax liability which they falsely alleged that Mr. Chisholm was responsible for. This was simply a “smokescreen” designed to waste time. They had to pay the judgement anyway, in this civil case that concluded in 1991.
Mr. Chisholm and his lawyers refused to agree to SNC ‘s request to undertake no further legal action later, so the way is still open to him to make any further claims that he sees fit, IN OR OUT OF COURT.
Three of the SNC defence lawyers at Dunton Rainville involved in creating this mess were Maître Marc de Wever, Maître Brigitte Charron and Maître Paul Andre Martel. The first two have since been appointed Judges in Quebec. It is clear from one of the Court documents that Maître Paul Andre Martel, who is still practicing at Dunton Rainville, was involved in allowing the furniture seizure and bank account seizure to happen.
At the time of the furniture seizure and Bank Account seizure, SNC were in the middle of taking over Lavalin Inc. – who, at the time, were twice SNC’s size and were their main competitor in Canada. SNC paid a widely reported $90 million to purchase Lavalin’s assets from the consortium of 8 banks which had seized them after Lavalin Inc., had got into financial trouble. SNC’s then-President and C.E.O., Guy Saint-Pierre, was also a Director of the Royal Bank and was still kept on as such by then-Royal Bank President and C.E.O. Allan R. Taylor and his nominated successor John E. Cleghorn. Both were told in writing, and with supporting documents, about the behaviour of Guy Saint-Pierre and SNC - leading to the furniture seizure and bank account seizure already referred to.
There have also been continual efforts over the years by The SNC Group (SNC-Lavalin Inc.), and their officers to procure for themselves a favourable public image, partly for the purpose of deflecting criticism off themselves and on to Mr. Chisholm, as a means of persuading the media not to investigate and report whenever Mr. Chisholm approached them. Space precludes going into details here but more information is available through the link cited below.
The above article is essentially a condensed version of Mr. Chisholm’s online article published in November 2013 by the South Asia Mail, “ SNC-LAVALIN INC. – A TALE OF CORRUPTION IN BIG BUSINESS AND COVER UPS".
This also has links to key supporting documents. And there is more.
Finally, because of all this, Mr. Chisholm has been constantly unable to get significant gainful employment since 1982 and repeatedly denied access to government-funded retraining to help him get re-employed as an engineer.