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According to La Presse, SNC-Lavalin had some “eventful” nights with Muammar Gaddafi’s son, all on the dime of the engineering giant.
“We had to see to his safety, and it degenerated,” said Isabelle Panelli, a spokeswoman of Garda World in an interview with La Presse about the long storied debauchery that took place upon Saadi Gaddafi ’s entrance into Canada by SNC-Lavalin’s invitation.
The case was exposed in detail during the preliminary investigation by Stéphane Roy, former vice-president controller of SNC-Lavalin who was accused of corruption. Since Mr. Roy’s judicial process had paused on February 19, we can tell it here for the first time.
As early as 2015, Radio-Canada reported the words of a former SNC-Lavalin executive who claimed, in a civil dispute with his former employer, that the company had paid prostitutes for Saadi Gaddafi.
But that’s just the start of it, according to evidence gathered by the RCMP. Apparently, the evidence exposed in the Stephane Roy case goes much further.
It shows for the first time, the extent of the costly nights and those involved, and how they would have been openly counted by the representatives of two large Quebec companies.
It also portrays a dictator’s son. A son who instead of working on develpoment projects for his country as he was supposed to, began to buy service of a much more… sexual nature.
Saadi Gaddafi, who was in charge of special forces in his father's army, was considered an important partner with SNC-Lavalin, which has made billions over the years thanks to Libyan public contracts.
"It was common knowledge that we paid Saadi Gaddafi, we spoke for specific reasons, not to do charity," said Riadh Ben Aissa, former senior executive of SNC-Lavalin who was project manager in Libya and testified at Mr. Roy's preliminary inquiry. Ben Aissa himself was sentenced in Switzerland for corruption in connection with the Gaddafi regime.
Saadi Gaddafi had already been to Canada in 2001, 2005 and 2006. But at the beginning of 2008, at the invitation of SNC-Lavalin, he moved to Montreal and Toronto. He said he wanted to learn more about North American business practices, improve his English, and meet mayors and politicians.
Saadi Gaddafi said he was working on a free-trade zone, a "new Hong Kong" in his country for foreign investors.
SNC-Lavalin hired Montreal security firm Garda World to protect the foreign dignitary during his trip. "The SNC-Lavalin client has mandated us for safety. There were four bodyguards who were contractors for this contract, not regular employees."
Saadi Gaddafi never needed to pull out his own wallet, according to the now revealed court documents. The bodyguards would have paid for everything, often at the expense of SNC-Lavalin, and they would have recorded all the expenses to bail out the fund or get reimbursed, according to an investigator from the RCMP.
$30,000 in sexual services. A man of expensive tastes.
Garda's accounting of expenditures, which was sent to SNC-Lavalin for payment, identifies numerous purchases of sexual services in different Canadian cities, according to the evidence presented at the preliminary inquiry.
"There are about thirty thousand [dollars] of paid-for escorts," police officer Paul Vincelette-de-la-Boessière explained to the court, detailing the documents seized by the police during his investigation.
What bodyguards modestly called "escort services" in their expense reports could cost anywhere from $600 to $ 7,500 per session, depending on a variety of factors.
Carman Fox & Friends, which defines itself as "the best escort service in the world", provided alone for nearly $10,000 in services to Mr. Gaddafi during a brief stay on the West Coast, according to evidence.
The bodyguards would also have taken care of expenses at Club Wanda's bar on De Maisonneuve Boulevard in Montreal, as well as all sorts of frivolous expenses, like two bottles of Sassicaia 1998 for more than $600 each.
According to evidence, they also picked up the bill for the leasing of a lodge at the Air Canada Center in Toronto. Twice. Once for a Raptors game, and another time for a Spice Girls concert.
They also allegedly advanced thousands of dollars to Saadi Gaddafi when he needed pocket money.
This puts Lavalin in another public eye situation that they can only be less than thrilled about. Hot water now appears to be boiling as there are many a SNC-executive probably praying this whole fiasco will end soon.