Former SNC Lavalin CEO Neil Bruce fled Canada just three days before he was expected to be arrested on bribery charges relating to a series of meetings that he and an attorney, Frank Iaccobucci, engaged in late last year to discuss the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion with a handful of key counterparties.
SNC Lavalin had long prized that $7 billion infrastructure contract and Iaccobucci had been tasked by the Trudeau government to manage its consultations with indigenous people in British Columbia. Iaccobucci had simultaneously been retained as an attorney and lobbyist for SNC Lavalin.
The official announcement of Bruce’s departure from the firm came on June 11, 2019, the day after Bruce is said to have received advanced word that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police had been preparing to make the arrest. He is believed to have received that information from Kevin Lynch, SNC Lavalin’s Chairman and the former Clerk of the Privy Council.
Ian Edwards, who just joined the firm in January as its COO, with a career’s worth of experience in the oil and gas industry, was named to replace Bruce, effective that same Tuesday.
Lynch has since been cooperating with investigators and has been wearing a recording device at Board meetings since June, our sources say, at the request of investigators. He has been directed to cease communications with the Prime Minister’s Office, his personal phones are being monitored, and he has been directed not to disclose his cooperation publicly.
The subject of that leak — a staffer inside the PMO — is now a target of the RCMP’s larger ongoing investigation, which includes at least two cooperators with active recording devices inside the office.
The Chronicle reported on Bruce’s wife’s hurried departure from Canada in March, and the quick sale of their $3 million home in the Westmont section of Montreal, following the public corruption scandal earlier this year. She returned to the United Kingdom shortly thereafter, despite retaining her employment position with Stephen Bronfman‘s Montreal-based private equity fund.
Bronfman was heavily interested in SNC Lavalin’s Libyan business dealings and he supported his cousin Sara Bronfman‘s efforts to install her husband as that nation’s first elected President. The Bronfmans have been the Liberal Party of Canada‘s chief financers for more than 100 years.