Shares in Canadian engineering giant SNC-Lavalin were halted on the Toronto Stock Exchange Wednesday after the company revealed the federal government has decided it won’t let the company settle allegations of foreign bribery out of court.
The company has had the legal cloud hanging over its head since 2015, stemming from allegations that some of its former employees paid bribes to officials in Libya to influence government decisions and win contracts prior to 2012.
SNC-Lavalin had hoped to negotiate a remediation agreement to settle the matter, an outcome that would have seen the company pay fines and other forms of punishment in exchange for setting aside the legal charges.
But the government has decided not to let the company do that.
“SNC-Lavalin strongly disagrees with the [government’s] current position,” the company said in a release, “and remains open and committed to negotiating such an agreement in the interest of its employees, partners, clients, investors, pensioners and other stakeholders, all innocent parties that have been affected during the last six years, and now face an unnecessary extended period of uncertainty.”
The company’s management and board of directors has seen extensive turnover since the events in question, and has set up a “world-class ethics & compliance framework,” SNC said.
Shares in the company were halted shortly after the TSX opened on Wednesday, and were scheduled to resume trading at 10:30 ET.