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Swiss accounts grow after bridge contract: report

MONTREAL - A Radio-Canada report says $1.5 million ended up in Swiss bank accounts of a former head of the Federal Bridge Corp. shortly after SNC-Lavalin was awarded a $127-million contract to refurbish a Montreal bridge.

But the report says Michel Fournier, the former FBC head, has denied he was involved in any kickback scheme.

"Enquete," an investigative program on the CBC's French-language network, says a commercial agency called Promotag deposited the money in accounts belonging to Fournier between 2002 and 2004.

Radio-Canada says Promotag is used regularly by SNC.

Radio-Canada says Fournier told the program, which was to be broadcast Thursday night, that he never had the accounts and that he never received a penny from SNC-Lavalin (TSX:SNC).

Fournier, who is in his early 60s, also denied getting any money from Promotag, saying he never took any kickbacks.

Radio-Canada said Fournier called them at a later date to say he did open a bank account by the name of Zorro. He said he opened it for his sister-in-law because she wanted to hide money from her new partner.

Radio-Canada said Fournier told them he didn't know where the deposits in the account came from.

Radio-Canada said SNC-Lavalin did not offer any comment.

Fournier was appointed head of the Federal Bridge Corp. in 1998 by then-prime minister Jean Chretien.

He also served as Chretien's chief of staff in 1990-91 when the future prime minister was just Liberal leader.

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