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Britain’s Serious Fraud Office opens investigation into Bombardier

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Bombardier says it is co-operating with an investigation by Britain’s Serious Fraud Office.

ARND WIEGMANN/Reuters

Britain’s Serious Fraud Office has opened an investigation into Bombardier Inc. over suspected bribery and corruption, adding to the adversity facing the plane maker as it prepares to scale back its business further to adapt to still-shaky market conditions.

The probe is related to contracts and orders from Garuda Indonesia, the flag airline of the Southeast Asian country, the fraud office said in a statement on its website Thursday. It said it would provide no further comment because the investigation is continuing.

Bombardier confirmed the investigation and said it has launched its own review of the matter, conducted by external counsel. No charges have been laid against Bombardier or its employees in connection with the affair, the company said.

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“This is unfortunate,” Bombardier chief executive Éric Martel told reporters on a conference call after the company’s third-quarter earnings report Thursday. He said while probes by authorities so far have centred on sales made to Garuda by Airbus SE and British-based engine maker Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC, the fraud office informed the company several weeks ago that it wanted to investigate Bombardier because it also sold aircraft to the Indonesian carrier.

“They reached out to us. We were not aware of any issues internally,” Mr. Martel said. “We’re being very open. We’re co-operating with the investigation. We’ll provide the information they need and we’ll see how this situation progresses.”

The inquiry presents a new wrinkle in Mr. Martel’s effort to reshape Bombardier into a single-business maker of private jets in the months ahead. The company has sold off all its commercial aircraft manufacturing capability to Airbus, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and Longview Aviation Capital Corp., and plans to unload its train business to Alstom SA in a crucial transaction scheduled to close next year.

Bombardier shares ended the day up 1.7 per cent in trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange, closing at 30 cents.

The Indonesia probe is one of a number of legal files outstanding for Bombardier.

The company also faces a continuing police investigation in Sweden and an audit by the World Bank related to a 2013 contract for the supply of rail signalling equipment to Azerbaijan Railways. A Swedish Court acquitted a Bombardier employee three years ago of bribery in relation to that contract, but the case is likely to go to appeal.

The U.S. Department of Justice contacted the company earlier this year requesting documents and information about that contract, Bombardier disclosed in a regulatory filing Thursday. The company said that based on the information it has, there is no evidence to suggest that any criminal activity involving Bombardier took place.

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In the filing, Bombardier also provided some additional context about the Serious Fraud Office probe. It said that in May, 2020, the Indonesian Corruption Court convicted the former chief executive of Garuda Indonesia and his associate of corruption and money laundering in connection with five procurement processes involving different manufacturers, including the 2011-12 acquisition and lease of Bombardier CRJ1000 aircraft by Garuda Indonesia.

Bombardier launched an internal review of the Garuda transactions shortly after that conviction, the company said. It said it understands that the Serious Fraud Office’s investigation involves the same transactions.

Garuda currently operates 18 Bombardier CRJ1000 regional jets among a fleet of 142 planes, according to its website. Bombardier announced a purchase agreement with the airline in February, 2012, during a news briefing at the Singapore air show.

At the time, Garuda agreed to buy six CRJ1000 planes and took an option on another 12 aircraft. The total value of the deal was US$1.32-billion, according to Bombardier’s news release.

The development comes as Mr. Martel readies a new strategic plan for Bombardier in the weeks ahead based on the results of an analysis of its operations and projected finances as a standalone business jet maker. The company needs to make major adjustments to improve profitability as a much smaller company, he said.

“Our cost structure today is much too large for the size of the business that we’ll have,” Mr. Martel told reporters, adding Bombardier factories have become too costly. “This will definitely mean layoffs,” he said. “What I can’t say today is where or when.”

Bombardier on Thursday reported a net profit of US$192-million in its third quarter, reversing a net loss of US$91-million in the same quarter last year. Revenue totalled about US$3.53-billion, down 5 per cent from a year ago.

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Toronto launches its own website and hotline for COVID-19 vaccination appointments – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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The City of Toronto will begin vaccinating people ages 80 and over at three mass immunization clinics starting next week.

During a news conference on Monday, Mayor John Tory said the three clinics, which are located at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, the Scarborough Town Centre, and the Toronto Congress Centre, will open on March 17.

The city is launching an interim system for residents to book appointments while it waits for the Government of Ontario’s provincewide online portal to go live on March 15.

“In order to avoid delaying the launch of city-run clinic operations, we are working with our provincial partners to establish an interim registration and booking process for these three initial clinics,” Matthew Pegg, the general manager of Toronto’s Office of Emergency Management, said on Monday.

“This interim solution will build on our previous proof-of-concept clinic operational plans. Our teams are hard at work now finalizing all of these details.”

The clinics will operate from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and details on how to book appointments will be provided “in the coming days,” Pegg said.

“These openings, two weeks ahead of schedule, are possible thanks to a shipment of 17,500 doses coming directly to Toronto Public Health next week,” Tory said on Monday.

“The opening of these larger vaccination sites will represent an expansion of the network of hospital-based clinics and community and mobile initiatives now underway and will be further expanded to include pharmacies as that pilot project proceeds.”

An additional six city-run clinics will open as vaccine supply ramps up in the coming weeks,” Tory said.

City-run clinics will receive a total of 17,500 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines on the week of March 15, 98,920 doses on the week of March 22, 174,200 doses on March 29, 80,730 doses on the week of April 5, and 80,730 doses on the week of April 12.

Hospitals in Toronto, which receive vaccine allocations directly from the province, are already booking appointments to vaccinate people in the community who are eligible.

To date, a little more than 200,000 Toronto residents have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The city says it will have the capacity to administer 975,000 doses per month at these mass immunization clinics when vaccine supply allows and the clinics will be able to operate 24-hours a day as needed.

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B.C.’s top doctor hints at gradual easing of COVID-19 restrictions in coming weeks – Global News

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B.C.’s top doctor says the province may be easing COVID-19 restrictions in the weeks ahead, but that some measures designed to curb the spread of the coronavirus will be around for some time.

In a press briefing held Monday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said as more people are immunized and the weather gets warmer, her team is looking at how to “safely ease restrictions” designed to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Henry said any changes to COVID-19 rules would be gradual, akin to “slowly turning up the dial rather than flipping a switch.”


Click to play video 'Seniors over 80 can book vaccines in some B.C. communities this week'



3:30
Seniors over 80 can book vaccines in some B.C. communities this week


Seniors over 80 can book vaccines in some B.C. communities this week

“We’re not going to rush to get things open, but we will take a thoughtful, careful and phased approach over the next few weeks,” Henry said.

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Henry noted measures such as social distancing, and wearing masks will remain important. She also reiterated that “outside is better than inside” as the virus is less transmissible outdoors.

Read more:
B.C. reports 1,462 new COVID-19 cases over three days, 11 deaths

Henry raised the prospect of a return to “activities outside that we can do in groups with precautions in place, small groups that we can do for games and summer camps or spring camps, and safe, small groups with masks and safety precautions in place.”


Click to play video 'Outreach efforts look to overcome language and cultural barriers as B.C. begins mass vaccinations'



1:58
Outreach efforts look to overcome language and cultural barriers as B.C. begins mass vaccinations


Outreach efforts look to overcome language and cultural barriers as B.C. begins mass vaccinations

“As well, we’ll be looking at how we can travel and explore during March break, as a family or a small group together with our household, exploring our own region.”

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

She also said there have been discussions with community faith leaders about a gradual return to in-person services.

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Read more:
No masks, no distancing: U.S. CDC says fully vaccinated people can gather indoors

The US CDC released guidelines that said fully-vaccinated Americans can gather with other vaccinated people indoors without wearing a mask or social distancing.

Henry said the CDC guidelines looked “fairly reasonable” and something similar could be implemented in B.C. at some point in the future.

Read more:
No masks, no distancing: U.S. CDC says fully vaccinated people can gather indoors

“Right now, we’re not at that point where we have enough of the people who are at risk immunized that we can have overall guidance,” she said.

“But I think that’s a very good example of what we can look forward to as more people are protected, particularly more of our seniors and elders, in the coming months.”

Health Minister Adrian Dix urged caution, noting that about 15 per cent of B.C.’s eligible residents are expected to be immunized by the end of the month, which is “nothing like herd immunity.”

Read more:
Alberta opens rest of Step 2 relaunch as 278 new COVID-19 cases confirmed

“The future is bright, but we can’t live the future right now. We’ve got to live the now right now.”

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On Monday, Alberta lifted more COVID-19 public health restrictions, including allowing more people to shop in retail stores and malls.

— With files from The Associated Press and The Canadian Press

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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B.C.’s top doctor hints at gradual easing of COVID-19 restrictions in coming weeks – Global News

Published

 on


B.C.’s top doctor says the province may be easing COVID-19 restrictions in the weeks ahead, but that some measures designed to curb the spread of the coronavirus will be around for some time.

In a press briefing held Monday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said as more people are immunized and the weather gets warmer, her team is looking at how to “safely ease restrictions” designed to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Henry said any changes to COVID-19 rules would be gradual, akin to “slowly turning up the dial rather than flipping a switch.”


Click to play video 'Seniors over 80 can book vaccines in some B.C. communities this week'



3:30
Seniors over 80 can book vaccines in some B.C. communities this week


Seniors over 80 can book vaccines in some B.C. communities this week

“We’re not going to rush to get things open, but we will take a thoughtful, careful and phased approach over the next few weeks,” Henry said.

Story continues below advertisement

Henry noted measures such as social distancing, and wearing masks will remain important. She also reiterated that “outside is better than inside” as the virus is less transmissible outdoors.

Read more:
B.C. reports 1,462 new COVID-19 cases over three days, 11 deaths

Henry raised the prospect of a return to “activities outside that we can do in groups with precautions in place, small groups that we can do for games and summer camps or spring camps, and safe, small groups with masks and safety precautions in place.”


Click to play video 'Outreach efforts look to overcome language and cultural barriers as B.C. begins mass vaccinations'



1:58
Outreach efforts look to overcome language and cultural barriers as B.C. begins mass vaccinations


Outreach efforts look to overcome language and cultural barriers as B.C. begins mass vaccinations

“As well, we’ll be looking at how we can travel and explore during March break, as a family or a small group together with our household, exploring our own region.”

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

She also said there have been discussions with community faith leaders about a gradual return to in-person services.

Story continues below advertisement

Read more:
No masks, no distancing: U.S. CDC says fully vaccinated people can gather indoors

The US CDC released guidelines that said fully-vaccinated Americans can gather with other vaccinated people indoors without wearing a mask or social distancing.

Henry said the CDC guidelines looked “fairly reasonable” and something similar could be implemented in B.C. at some point in the future.

Read more:
No masks, no distancing: U.S. CDC says fully vaccinated people can gather indoors

“Right now, we’re not at that point where we have enough of the people who are at risk immunized that we can have overall guidance,” she said.

“But I think that’s a very good example of what we can look forward to as more people are protected, particularly more of our seniors and elders, in the coming months.”

Health Minister Adrian Dix urged caution, noting that about 15 per cent of B.C.’s eligible residents are expected to be immunized by the end of the month, which is “nothing like herd immunity.”

Read more:
Alberta opens rest of Step 2 relaunch as 278 new COVID-19 cases confirmed

“The future is bright, but we can’t live the future right now. We’ve got to live the now right now.”

Story continues below advertisement

On Monday, Alberta lifted more COVID-19 public health restrictions, including allowing more people to shop in retail stores and malls.

— With files from The Associated Press and The Canadian Press

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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