MONTREAL - SNC-Lavalin is trying to rally public support as it prepares to endure a lengthy criminal trial after federal prosecutors refused to negotiate a compensation agreement.

The Montreal-based engineering and construction firm submitted a letter from its chief executive that was published today in four of Canada's most influential newspapers.

In it, Neil Bruce apologizes for wrongdoing prior to 2012 that has tarnished the company's reputation and says it has made "fundamental changes" in its culture and governance.

SNC and two of its subsidiaries were charged in February 2015 with paying nearly $48 million to public officials in Libya between 2001 and 2011 to influence government decisions.

The RCMP has also charged the company, its construction division and a subsidiary with one charge each of fraud and corruption for allegedly defrauding various Libyan organizations of roughly $130 million.

Bruce says the newly passed federal remediation agreement regime is designed to protect a company's employees, customers, pensioners and other innocent stakeholders who did nothing wrong, from the effects of a potential criminal conviction of the corporation, while holding those responsible accountable for wrongdoing.