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Daily Archives: February 11, 2012
By Catherine Solyom
Firm’s Libyan business worth nearly $1B
After allegations regarding the uncomfortably close ties of SNC-Lavalin to the former Gadhafi regime in Libya, the Montreal-based engineering giant announced late Thursday that executive vice-president Riadh Ben Aissa and vice-president Stéphane Roy have left the company, effective immediately.
The news comes on the heels of revelations by sources within the firm worried about its tarnished international reputation.
In an anonymous email to the Montreal Gazette, the employees, describing themselves as “a group of honest French Canadians representing thousands more around our once-proud company” allege, among other things, that a greater role was played by certain SNC-Lavalin executives in the bizarre plot to help smuggle Saadi Gadhafi from Libya into Mexico.
SNC-Lavalin has long been active in Libya, and their business in Libya was worth almost $1 billion.
But questions arose about the kind of business SNC-Lavalin was doing for Moammar Gadhafi when it won a contract to build a prison in Tripoli and whether the firm went beyond business following NATO air strikes in the country, when it was revealed that SNC-Lavalin had hired Cynthia Vanier to go on a “fact-finding mission” to Libya in July, and she returned with a report highly favourable to the regime.… Read More
By PAUL WALDIE AND GRAEME SMITH
The company profited tremendously from executive Riadh Ben-Aissa’s remarkable friendship with Col. Gadhafi’s son Saadi
For years, whenever SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. had eyes on a major contract in Libya, it could count on one key executive to make it happen – Riadh Ben Aissa.
Mr. Ben Aissa played an invaluable role at the Montreal-based engineering firm, helping generate roughly $1-billion worth of work for SNC in Libya. He did it with an aggressive management style and a remarkably close relationship with Colonel Moammar Gadhafi’s son Saadi. The two were so close that whenever Saadi needed cash for cars, trips or property, he sent a message to Mr. Ben Aissa and the money arrived. And when Saadi came to Toronto in 2008 to check out the film festival, take courses in English and engineering and party with rapper 50 Cent, SNC picked up part of the tab.
“When [Saadi] needed money, [Mr. Ben Aissa] was the one I spoke to,” said Gary Peters, a Canadian security consultant who worked as a bodyguard for Saadi. Some of the payments went as high as $100,000, he added.… Read More
Syria has asked Tunisia and Libya to close their embassies in Damascus in a tit-for-tat move after they both expelled Syria’s envoys, a Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesperson said on Saturday.
“Syrian authorities have asked Libya and Tunisia to close their embassies in Damascus in a reciprocal move,” Jihad Makdisi told reporters.
The decision comes days after similar moves by Tunisia and Libya — where veteran strongmen have been ousted by popular uprisings — in protest at the Damascus regime’s lethal crackdown on democracy protests.
Libya’s ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) closed the Syrian embassy in October and two days ago it ordered Syrian diplomats still in the country to leave within 72 hours.
That decision comes less than a week after the opposition Syrian National Council — which has already been recognized by the NTC — took control of the country’s embassy in Tripoli.
And earlier this month the Tunisian presidency said it had started a procedure to expel the Syrian ambassador in protest at the rising death toll of civilians killed by regime forces over the past 11 months.… Read More
The Interim Government gave the Syrian Ambassador 72 hours to pack up earlier this week. Here are his last moments fleeing from the embassy on the way to the airport… Read More
Libya demanded Niger hand over one of Moammar Gadhafi’s sons who is under house arrest in the neighboring African nation after he warned in a television interview that his homeland was facing a new uprising.
Mohammed Hareizi, spokesman for the ruling National Transitional Council, said Saturday that Niger must extradite Al-Saadi Gadhafi and other ex-regime officials to “preserve its relationship and interests” in Libya.
The demand came days before the first anniversary of the Feb. 17 start of the uprising that led to months of civil war and the eventual ouster and death of the longtime Libyan leader. Al-Saadi Gadhafi and more than 30 other loyalists fled to Niger after Tripoli fell to rebels in September.
Niger Justice Minister Morou Amadou confirmed the demand had been received but said Niger’s government has refused to extradite al-Saadi and the others to Libya because they risk being killed. However, Amadou said the government would agree to extradite al-Saadi to the Hague upon request by the International Criminal Court.… Read More
Libya’s interim government has called on Niger to extradite Muammar Gaddafi’s third eldest son Saadi after he called on Libyans to prepare for a “coming uprising”.
In a telephone interview with Al Arabiya television late on Friday, Saadi said that he was in regular contact with people in Libya who were unhappy with the authorities who took over the leadership in the country after the ousting of his father after 42 years of dictatorial rule, and the eventual capture and killing of his father.
National Transitional Council spokesman Mohammed al-Harizy said in a statement on behalf of the NTC, that following his comments, Libya’s National Transitional Council is demanding that Niger, should extradite Saadi and those who are with him as soon as possible in order to maintain the relationship with the Libyan people.” Niger is currently giving a safe haven to Saadi, who said he has the money to led an uprising in Libya.
Mr Harizy went on to say: “They (Niger authorities) should follow the Algerian government that prevented Gaddafi’s daughter (Ayesha) from making statements or causing any trouble from their land.” he said.… Read More