MONTREAL — An Ontario judge has certified a $1-billion class-action lawsuit against SNC-Lavalin on behalf of investors who saw the value of their investment in the company plummet on revelations about payments in North Africa.The Montreal-based engineering and construction firm didn’t oppose the certification in exchange for the plaintiffs withdrawing their original plans to seek punitive damages, one of the lawyers involved with the case said Thursday.Dimitri Lascaris said the speed of the certification was the quickest he’s seen because of the company’s decision not to fight it.[np-related /]SNC-Lavalin also agreed to pay nearly $250,000 to advertise the notice of claim and to cover fees incurred for two plantiff experts.The company said it intends to “defend our interests vigorously” and noted the case is limited only to statutory claims under securities legislation.The ruling doesn’t apply to a separate $250-million claim filed in Quebec containing similar allegations that was filed in March on behalf of investors in Quebec. A ruling to certify that claim is expected in a few weeks.Two separate Ontario lawsuits were merged earlier this year.A trial could begin next year unless the case is settled.The lawsuit was brought on behalf of all SNC-Lavalin investors who purchased SNC-Lavalin securities between Feb. 1, 2007 and Feb. 28, 2012 or who bought debentures through the company’s June 2009 prospectus offering.The lead plaintiff is Brent Gray, a resident of Surrey, B.C., who purchased 600 shares in January at $52.20 per share.The suit claims, among other things, that a 2009 prospectus offering $350 million of debentures failed to contain “full, true and plain disclosure of all material facts.”The claim arises from alleged payments made by SNC-Lavalin to members, associates and agents of the Gadhafi regime to secure contracts for infrastructure projects in Libya.The allegations have not been proven in court.
Registrar Hans Holthuis, who today wrapped up a two-day trip to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, handed over the Milosevic arrest warrant to the country’s Minister of Justice, Momcilo Grubac. “Minister Grubac accepted it and gave his commitment to have it, together with the ICTY indictment, served expeditiously on Slobodan Milosevic,” according to a statement released today by the Tribunal.In his meetings with Mr. Grubac, as well as during separate contacts with the Minister of Justice of Serbia, Vladan Batic, the Registrar discussed “the practical modalities related to the obligation of the Belgrade authorities to transfer Slobodan Milosevic to The Hague promptly and with all due diligence,” the statement said.Other issues discussed in the meetings included the ongoing investigation of Mr. Milosevic by the Belgrade authorities as well as information related to the Yugoslav draft law on cooperation between Belgrade and the Tribunal.The indictment against Mr. Milosevic charges him and four others with crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of war during a “systematic attack directed against the Kosovo Albanian civilian population of Kosovo in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.”