Toronto Star March 11, 2019

OTTAWA—An international economic organization that oversees global anti-bribery efforts says it’s concerned by allegations that Prime Minster Justin Trudeau and senior officials tried to interfere in the criminal case against SNC-Lavalin, pointedly warning Canada about its obligations to safeguard independent prosecutions.

“It’s still at the stage of allegations but even this is enough for us to be concerned,” said Drago Kos, a senior anti-bribery official with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

“We are not so much interested in the decision of the prosecutor, this agreement or not. That has to be an autonomous decision of the prosecutor which should not be influenced by anybody,” said Kos, the chair of the OECD working group on bribery.

“This is the point of our concern,” he told the Star in a telephone interview.

And Kos said the excuse used by Trudeau and others for their interventions — that they were concerned about jobs at SNC-Lavalin — is not a legitimate justification.

“My view is that the economic impacts of jobs — and it’s explicitly in the Criminal Code, the impact on suppliers, pensioners, customers, communities — is a relevant public interest consideration,” Wernick told the justice committee last Wednesday.

Not so, Kos told the Star.

“Those are the exactly the elements which should not influence the prosecutorial decisions,” he said. “That is exactly the requirement of the convention.”

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