Novak signed checks without asking any questions


The big boss of SNC-Lavalin abroad has not expressed any remorse

Paying large sums of money to shell companies in tax havens was no problem for SNC-Lavalin in the 2000s, according to the husband of former Liberal minister Kathleen Weil.

Michael Novak, the former boss of SNC-Lavalin International, said Monday that there is nothing unusual about the company paying millions of dollars to intermediaries in offshore accounts when obtaining of a contract.

Novak was cross-examined on Monday at the trial of Sami Bebawi, a former SNC executive accused of fraud and corruption.

“We did not look where the [payment recipient] was located,” said Michael Novak to a question from Sami Bebawi’s lawyer, Annie Émond.

The latter asked a McGill-trained lawyer if the fact that a SNC partner was in Switzerland, Panama or the Bahamas could have caused her to ask questions. According to Michael Novak, the only thing that mattered to SNC-Lavalin was where the person’s bank account was.

Bribes wine

According to the Crown’s claims in this case, SNC-Lavalin allegedly paid tens of millions of bribes to Saadi Gaddafi, the son of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, in exchange for lucrative contracts for the company.

SNC-Lavalin reportedly offered a US $ 25 million yacht to Saadi Gaddafi.

SNC’s bribes were allegedly paid into a British Virgin Islands’ shell company, which in turn was linked to an account in Switzerland.

Michael Novak did not express any remorse or self-criticism.

He reiterated Monday what he had already said on Friday, namely that it was the job of his subordinates or bosses of other affiliates that his own to ensure that the contracts he signed were consistent.

He trusted his colleagues

“Things were happening without me knowing,” he said. […] I trusted the good judgment of my colleagues. “

The former executive admitted to having met Saadi Kadhafi once again. The latter, according to Novak’s explanations, had come for a “tourist” trip to Quebec at SNC’s expense. The son of the dictator would have done a “hike with a dog sled” in Quebec, according to his memory.

► Michael Novak is the husband of former Liberal Minister Kathleen Weil.


  • The boss of the company, Jacques Lamarre, would have personally approved the payment of bribes in Libya according to a key witness of the Crown
  • The ex-v.-p. SNC’s finances, Gilles Laramée, revealed to have doubts that SNC paid bribes, but never did anything to prevent this practice
  • The former controller of a SNC subsidiary, Paul Beaudry, said former CEO Jacques Lamarre may have tried to influence his testimony a few weeks ago
  • No less than $ 118 million would have been paid by SNC-Lavalin in a front company in Switzerland between 2001 and 2010 according to a forensic accountant



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