Deterrence and denunciation of bribery of foreign public
officials were at the fore as a judge sentenced Ottawa businessman
Nazir Karigar to three years in jail for agreeing to offer bribes
to public officials in India in order to obtain preferential
treatment for a bid to supply to Air India.
Mr. Karigar was
convicted in August 2013 under the Corruption of Foreign
Public Officials Act (
CFPOA) after the first ever trial under this law. The
CFPOAmakes it an offence in Canada to bribe foreign government
Canada's Foreign Anti-Bribery Law.)
Mr. Karigar is the first individual to have been convicted and
sentenced under the CFPOA. His three year jail sentence sends a
strong deterrence signal.
In sentencing Mr. Karigar to three years in jail, Ontario
Superior Court Justice Hackland relied on three main legal
The CFPOA implements in Canada an international anti-bribery
convention that requires state parties to apply similar sanctions
to bribery of foreign public officials as they apply to bribery of
their own officials.
Cases on sentencing for serious fraud and bribery of Canadian
government officials establish a range of three to five years as
the appropriate sentence.
In serious fraud cases, traditional mitigating factors such as
past good character do not push the sentence below the range; they
help determine where in the range the sentence should fall.
Hackland RSJ identified a number of aggravating factors,
including that Mr. Karigar personally conceived of and orchestrated
a sophisticated and carefully planned bribery scheme that would
have paid millions of dollars in bribes to senior public officials
in India. The scheme also involved other dishonest elements, such
as entering a fake competitive bid.
There were also a number of mitigating factors, including that
Mr. Karigar cooperated with the prosecution (although he pleaded
not guilty). Mr. Karigar had no prior criminal record. Finally, the
bribery scheme failed;
Cryptometrics did not get the contract.
Canada has recently been signalling to the business community
that it now takes foreign corruption offences seriously. In 2013,
the CFPOA was strengthened in six important ways:
Nationality jurisdiction: the CFPOA now applies to bribes paid
outside of Canada by Canadian citizens, residents, and
Books and records offence: it is now an offence to cover up
Penalties have been increased to 14 years imprisonment
The definition of "business" was broadened
The facilitation payments exception will be repealed –
The RCMP was given exclusive authority to lay charges under the
As well, Canada has begun enforcing the CFPOA. Recent
enforcement actions include:
Griffiths Energy: in 2013, Griffiths was fined $10.3 million
for paying $2 million in bribes to Chadian government officials.
Griffiths self-reported after a change in ownership of the company.
Alberta Company Charged with Foreign Corruption.)
In R v Villaroman, the Supreme Court of Canada recently dealt with the issue of circumstantial evidence and the inferences that can be reasonably drawn from that evidence in order to find an accused guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Canadian engineering and construction giant SNC-Lavalin has been charged by the RCMP with paying bribes of nearly $48 million to Libyan government officials and defrauding Libya of nearly $130 million.
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