Canada's Trudeau denies political interference in SNC-Lavalin case
Thursday - 07/03/2019 10:21
Canada's PM Justin Trudeau has said no inappropriate pressure was placed on a minister when he raised concerns to her about a prosecution related to one of the country's biggest firms.
But he said he should have been aware of an "erosion of trust" between the minister and his office.
Jody Wilson-Raybould says she was pressured in the criminal prosecution of engineering giant SNC-Lavalin.
Fallout from the affair has cost the prime minister two top ministers.
Mr Trudeau's statements on Thursday morning comes amid a deepening political crisis for the prime minister, with numerous opinion polls suggesting that confidence in his government has taken a hit.
He admitted he had made mistakes in his handling of the matter and that "there are lessons to be learned from this situation". But he said there was no wrongdoing in the SNC-Lavalin case.
"I can repeat and reassure Canadians that there was no breakdown of our systems, of our rule of law, of the integrity of our institutions," he said.
His former attorney general and justice minister Wilson-Raybould has said that she faced attempts at political interference and felt pressured by the prime minister and members of his inner circle over when to make a deal that would have suspended prosecution against the firm.
In those various meetings, they repeatedly raised concerns about the possibility of job losses and potential political ramifications of a trial, she said.
The Quebec-based firm is one of the world's largest engineering and construction companies.
SNC-Lavalin is facing allegations that former executives paid bribes to win contracts in Libya under Muammar Gaddafi's regime, which fell in 2011.