The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) have charged three foreign nationals with offences of bribing foreign officials under the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act (CFPOA). The former Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operations Officer of Cryptometrics Canada, Inc, (a subsidiary of a US company), both of whom are US nationals, were charged with offences under section 3.1 of the CFPOA, along with a former agent of the company, a UK national, who was in addition charged with fraud under section 380 of the Criminal Code. Warrants have been issued for their arrests.

The charges result from RCMP's investigation into allegations of bribery in relation to a contract won in 2006 by Cryptometrics Canada, Inc, to supply a biometric passenger security system (i.e. facial recognition technology) to India Air. India Air is owned by Air India Limited, a Government of India enterprise. The contract was worth approximately US$100 million. Earlier this week, another former agent of the company, Mr. Karigar (an Ottawa-based businessman) was sentenced to 3 years in prison for arranging illicit payments for public officials in India. He was convicted of conspiring in 2005 and 2006 to bribe an Indian minister and officials of India Air in order to procure the contract.

Since Canada passed the CFPOA in 1999, only four of the cases prosecuted by RCMP have resulted in convictions. The successful prosecution of Mr. Karigar is heralded as a landmark, setting an important legal precedent as the first sentence against an individual under the CFPOA.

RCMP has over the last two years increasingly charged individuals under the CFPOA. In 2012 and 2013, it laid charges against six SNC-Lavalin senior executives and several other employees, including a Bangladeshi national. The charges resulted from RCMP’s ongoing investigation into the award to SNC-Lavalin of a contract for consultancy services and supervision of the construction of the Padma Multipurpose Bridge in Bangladesh. Those cases are yet to reach trial.

In a statement yesterday, RCMP strongly reiterated Canada’s commitment to combating corruption:

"We have a mandate to investigate domestic and international allegations of corruption of foreign public officials. This investigation demonstrates the RCMP’s commitment to combating international corruption. Leaving these crimes unchallenged can jeopardize Canada's reputation as a fair and transparent society", said Assistant Commissioner, Gilles Michaud, Commanding Officer of National Division.