Former top aide to Canada PM to testify Weds on SNC-Lavalin case

FILE PHOTO: Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau takes part in a cabinet shuffle at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, March 1, 2019. REUTERS/Chris Wattie/File Photo

OTTAWA (Reuters) – A former top aide to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will on Wednesday address allegations that the aide inappropriately pressured a cabinet minister to help SNC-Lavalin avoid being tried for corruption, a parliamentary officer said.

Gerald Butts, who quit as Trudeau’s principal secretary last month, will testify to the House of Commons justice committee from 10 am ET (1500 GMT) to noon on Wednesday, the clerk of the committee said by email on Monday.

The question of what exactly senior officials did or did not do last year to aid construction firm SNC-Lavalin Group Inc has rapidly become the biggest crisis of Trudeau’s tenure in the run-up to an October election which polls suggest he might lose.

Butts has already denied allegations by former justice minister Judy Wilson-Raybould that government officials inappropriately pressured her to help SNC-Lavalin evade trial on charges of bribing Libyan officials.

Wilson-Raybould last week addressed the committee and complained about pressure from Butts in particular. Under questioning, though, she said she did not consider officials had broken any laws.

Wilson-Raybould was demoted in January and said last week she was sure this was because she had refused to bow to pressure over SNC-Lavalin. She resigned from the cabinet a few weeks later.

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