Canadian jailed in Air India bid-rigging case

Canadian jailed in Air India bid-rigging case

Canadian jailed in Air India bid-rigging case

A Canadian businessman was sentenced today to three years in prison for bribing two Air India executives and an Indian cabinet minister in a failed bid-rigging scheme.

Nazir Karigar, 67, is the first person to be convicted under Canada's Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act, which had previously been used to prosecute corporations.

"The corruption of foreign public officials, particularly in developing countries, is enormously harmful and is likely to undermine the rule of law," Ontario Superior Court Justice Charles Hackland was quoted by the daily Ottawa Citizen as saying during sentencing.

"The idea that bribery is simply a cost of doing business in many countries, and should be treated as such by Canadian firms competing for business in those countries, must be disavowed," he said.

Karigar conspired to bribe India's then-minister of civil aviation Praful Patel and officials at the state-owned Air India in hopes of obtaining a multi-million dollar contract for Cryptometrics Canada, a subsidiary of a US company, for facial recognition technology.

CryptoMetrics did not win the contract.

No evidence of any money transfers to Indian officials was presented at trial. Rather prosecutors proved the accused's intent to pay a bribe.

Four corporations convicted under the act prior to this case paid fines of up to USD 10 million.

Several executives and employees of engineering firm SNC-Lavalin have also been charged since 2012 in an ongoing bribery investigation.