If you are following this week's biggest corruption story in North America, you know that the fraud and corruption charges filed against the Canadian engineering firm SNC-Lavalin Group, Inc., and two of its subsidiaries, have exposed a multi-million dollar pattern of criminal activity regarding the company's projects, especially those in Libya. Three former employees, and a prominent tax attorney, have been charged previously, in cases involving money laundering, fraud, bribery & embezzlement.
What is more disturbing however, is the disclosure that it was SNC that is behind the stalled Canadian extradition proceeding, presently pending since May, 2013 in the Republic of Panama, against Arthur Porter, who is accused by the Government of Canada of diverting CAN$22.5m from a hospital project where SNC was involved. Porter did not oppose extradition, but Panama mysteriously has delayed the proceedings, claiming that Porter's case is under investigation.
Most Panama observers had thought that the real reason for their government's procrastination was to ultimately seize Porter's large Panamanian bank accounts, which have been frozen. He has lung cancer, and as he has been denied medication and treatment, it is feared that he will die in custody in Panama, and his assets there become the property of that country's government, and/or the banks who are holding his funds. The person responsible for the hold on his extradition was the individual in command, the recently-departed Attorney General of Panama, Ana Isabel Belfon Vejas. She deserves a few years in a dirty Panamanian prison for that stunt.
Fortunately, the newly-arrived Panamanian Attorney General promptly agreed to send Porter back to face charges in Canada, but the fact that illicit payments, to high-placed government officials, came directly from SNC, to keep Porter from testifying, indicate that the company actively conspired to bring about his death. Those SMC officers who sent the bribe money to Panama should face additional charges for their reprehensible actions.