* SNC involved in year-long scandal over mystery payments
* Investigators focusing on Algerian agent, say papers
OTTAWA Feb 21 Swiss investigators probing
whether SNC Lavalin Inc paid bribes in Libya are now
looking at the Canadian engineering and construction company's
dealings in Algeria, a newspaper said on Thursday.
SNC, which operates in more than 100 countries, has been at
the center of an ethics and corruption scandal for more than a
year after it revealed it had uncovered tens of millions of
dollars in mysterious payments.
The company's former head of construction was charged in
Switzerland last November on allegations of money laundering and
corruption in relation to payments made in Libya.
Canada's Globe and Mail - working with Italian newspaper Il
Sole 24 Ore - said Swiss investigators were focusing on an agent
for the SNC in Algeria and how he may have helped secure
contracts for it and Italy's Saipem SpA with state
energy company Sonatrach.
It said the agent - Farid Bedjaoui - was suspected of being
a conduit for more than C$200 million ($196 million) in
"suspicious payments" for many international oil and gas
services providers. Saipem is controlled by Eni SpA
Earlier this month Milan prosecutors put Eni SpA chief
executive Paolo Scaroni under investigation in a probe into
alleged bribes paid to win contracts in Algeria for Saipem. A
warrant to search his premises was based on a meeting he had
Last December, Saipem's chief executive resigned after news
broke that prosecutors were looking into alleged corruption
regarding contracts in Algeria.
In January 2013, a Canadian police document said a son of
deposed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi allegedly received 120
million euros ($162 million) in bribes for giving major
contracts in Libya to SNC-Lavalin.
In November 2012, the former chief executive of SNC-Lavalin
was arrested on three fraud-related charges.