The Political Economy of Corporate Bribery: SNC-Lavalin Group as a Case Study

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International Criminology (2021) 1: 341-355.

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In 2013, the World Bank suspended financing for the construction of the Padma Multi-Purpose Bridge in Bangladesh following allegations of massive payoffs from SNC-Lavalin Group (Canada) to several Bangladeshi officials and politicians. This resulted in the arrest of a major SNC-Lavalin employee in Switzerland, who pled guilty and co-operated with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in Canada. This article examines the intricacies of the corruption allegations against SNC-Lavalin in Canada. There are suggestions of a toxic corporate culture historically noted by Sutherland (1949, 1983). As well, a criminal action was commenced against the corporation, which lead to extensive political fallout and a guilty plea. Both the outcome of this prosecution and its theoretical implications raise important questions about on the role of structural pressures and “holes” in global capital markets. Here, we invoke Quinney’s (2002) analysis of capital, Chambliss’ (1994) notion of law and markets, and Merton’s (1957) theory of organizational strain.


International state-corporate crime · Critical criminology · Political economy


Banking and Finance Law | Corporate Finance | Political Economy

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