TORONTO:Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has dismissed accusations he asked his former justice minister to lie to the public about a 2019 corporate legal case involving financial corruption and bribery.
The accusations were made in a book being released just days before the Canadian federal election on September 20.
The book "Indian in the Cabinet" — whose prologue was released to the Globe and Mail — says Trudeau’s office had inappropriately pressured former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould in 2019 to dissuade her from prosecuting construction firm SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. accused of bribing to obtain multi-billion dollar contracts.
Wilson-Raybould said the prime minister, during a tense conversation in a meeting at the time, knew she had been pressured by government officials and instead wanted her to say publicly that she had not.
"I knew what he was really asking. What he was saying. In that moment, I knew he wanted me to lie — to attest that what had occurred had not occurred. ... Lie to protect a Crown government acting badly; a political party; a leader who was not taking responsibility," the former attorney general was quoted as saying in an excerpt from the book.
Wilson-Raybould refused at that time to overrule the prosecutor's decision to take the case to trial and she resigned a few days later, with an independent watchdog saying Trudeau had tried to influence her, breaching ethics rules.