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Canadian firm boss met Gaddafi son escape plotter


A Canadian engineering firm, which oversaw billions of dollars worth of projects in Libya, was loosely linked on Friday to a failed plot to smuggle a son of ex-Libyan dictator Moamer Kadhafi into Mexico.

Mexican officials said in December they had uncovered an elaborate plan, at the height of pro-democracy protests in Libya, to bring 38-year-old Saadi Kadhafi and other relatives into Mexico on false papers.

The plan failed "because the pilots didn't accept to land in secret" in Libya, Mexico's Assistant Attorney General Jose Cuitlahuac Salinas told a news conference Wednesday.

Stephane Roy, an executive with Canadian firm SNC Lavalin was at the scene of the arrest in November in Mexico City of accused conspirator Gabriela Davila Huerta, the Montreal-based company acknowledged in an email to AFP.

He had been invited to Mexico to meet with Cynthia Vanier, a Canadian also charged this week for her alleged role in the plot, spokeswoman Leslie Quinton said.

Roy "was present when the other person (Huerta) was detained and was asked the purpose of his visit by the authorities, which he stated was the possibility of water treatment projects."

Quinton also said that as far as the company knows, Roy "underwent no further questioning" by Mexican police and has not been charged with any criminal offense.

SNC-Lavalin had previously hired Vanier for "a fact-finding mission in early summer 2011 in order to establish the situation in Libya with the intent of resuming operations there," she said.

Mexican authorities charged Vanier, a Dane and two Mexicans on January 28 for attempted trafficking of undocumented people, organized crime and falsifying official documents. A fifth, fugitive suspect has not been identified.

After his father's death during fighting with pro-democracy rebels, Saadi Kadhafi fled to Niger.