Canadian businessman John Bennett will be extradited to the US
face bid-rigging, fraud, conspiracy, and kick-back charges, the BC
Court of Appeal held recently.
The charges stem from a bid by the company he founded, Bennett Environmental Inc., to work on an
environmental cleanup project in New Jersey. Bennett Environmental was an environmental soil
remediation company. Beginning in 2001, it won a series of
contracts to remediate soils at a major environmental cleanup in
the US known as the Federal Creosote site.
An investigation by the US Justice Department's Antitrust
Division revealed that bidders on the project, including Bennett
Environmental, had conspired in the bidding process, fraudulently
inflated the price of certain subcontracts, and paid kick-backs.
In 2008, Bennett Environmental pleaded guilty to one count of
conspiracy to defraud the US Environmental Protection Agency and
was fined $1 million. Two of its executives have also pleaded
guilty. In in 2011, one of them was sentenced to serve 50 months in
a US jail, after pleading guilty to participating in fraud and
money laundering conspiracies (see article).
The former project manager, Gordon McDonald, who participated in
the scheme and received the kick-backs, was convicted in September 2013, and sentenced in March 2014 to 14 years in prison.
This is the longest ever sentence ever imposed in the US for an
Mr. Bennett was the chairman of the board and chief
executive officer of Bennett Environmental at the time it won the
Federal Creosote contract. In 2009, he was indicted by a Grand Jury
on charges that he orchestrated the bid-rigging, kick-backs, and
other offences. The US applied for extradition in February 2010. Mr. Bennett has
been fighting extradition ever since. At his committal
hearing, he attempted to lead evidence suggesting that he was not
involved in the scheme and sought to force two former Bennett
Environmental executives to testify. The judge rejected this and
ordered him committed for extradition.
Mr. Bennett appealed. The BC Court of Appeal dismissed his
appeal, holding that the evidence he sought to introduce did not
undermine the evidence tendered by the US in its Certified Record
of the Case for Prosecution. Rather, his evidence related to
potential defences to the charges. These are matters for the trial,
the court held.
In addition to being the first Canadian ever extradited to the
US to face antitrust charges, Mr Bennett is also only the second
person ever extradited to the US to face antitrust charges. In
April 2014, a former executive of a rubber hose manufacturer was extradited from Germany after the first ever
contested extradition on antitrust charges.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
The Canadian Competition Bureau issued a template document for use as a form of Consent Agreement, to be filed with the Competition Tribunal to resolve concerns the Bureau may have with proposed mergers.
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).