The landmark criminal case against Canadian engineering group SNC-Lavalin for alleged fraud in Libya has been delayed until February 2016.
Proceedings were to have resumed in Montreal last week on 16 October but were put off until 26 February, the Canadian Press news agency reported, without citing reasons.
In February this year Canada’s national police, the RCMP, laid charges against SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. and two subsidiaries, alleging it paid nearly CAN$47.7m to bribe public officials in Libya between 2001 and 2011.
The RCMP also alleges that the company defrauded Libyan government state entities of approximately CAN$129.8m.
SNC-Lavalin has said it believes the charges are "without merit" and that it will "vigorously defend itself".
It maintains that the charges stem from alleged activities of former employees who now face criminal charges.
If convicted, SNC-Lavalin could be banned from bidding on Canadian government contracts for 10 years, the Canadian Press reported.
However, Canada’s federal government has moved to reduce penalties if companies co-operate with authorities and take remedial action.
SNC-Lavalin says the government’s changes don’t go far enough and are out of step with Canada’s trading partners, reported the Canadian Press.