Former McGill hospital manager pleads guilty in SNC-Lavalin bribery case
The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, November 27, 2018 6:54AM EST
MONTREAL -- A former manager at the McGill University Health Centre pleaded guilty Monday to accepting a $10-million bribe in return for helping engineering firm SNC-Lavalin win the contract to build a major Montreal hospital and research centre.
Yanai Elbaz also pleaded guilty to four other charges including influence peddling, breach of trust and money laundering.
Elbaz, who was a high-level aide to the late hospital CEO Arthur Porter, was handcuffed in the Montreal courtroom and transported to a detention facility.
Quebec's anti-corruption unit accused Porter of accepting a $22.5-million bribe in connection with SNC-Lavalin winning the $1.3-billion contract to build the McGill centre.
But the disgraced executive, 59, died in Panamanian custody in 2015 without ever facing trial. He had been detained in Panama at Canada's request two years earlier.
Quebec authorities have described the hospital bribe scandal as the biggest corruption fraud in Canada's history.
The Crown and defence made a joint suggestion to Superior Court Justice Claude Leblond that Elbaz serve 39 months in prison.
Elbaz's brother, Yohann, who was a co-accused in the case, was acquitted on Monday. Prosecutors told Leblond they did not have enough evidence against him.
Leblond has not yet decided on a sentence for Yanai Elbaz.
He will first hear arguments on Wednesday from lawyers representing the McGill University Health Centre as well as SNC-Lavalin. Both parties are seeking damages from Elbaz.