Saturday 28 July 2012

On the hunt for Stéphane Roy and Riadh Ben Aïssa

Canadian courts addressing the class action suits against SNC-Lavalin have had a hard time serving court documents to two former executives, Stéphane Roy and Riadh Ben Aïssa.

For Mr. Roy, the difficulty has been in locating him within Canada’s borders. For Mr. Aïssa, the challenge is that he is in prison in Switzerland. Central to Mr. Aïssa’s case is the Hague Service Convention of 1965, which covers the international delivery of court process documents.

Riadh Ben Aïssa

If a document can’t be served in person, then a court can resort to “substituted service”, which is an alternative means of notification. Former SNC executives Roy and Aïssa’s circumstances have made things difficult: Roy because he has been lying low, presumably in Quebec; and Aïssa because he is in jail in Switzerland where he is facing allegations of corruption, fraud and money laundering related to SNC-Lavalin’s alleged corrupt practices in North Africa.

Thursday 12 July 2012

Suspicious Canadian death, and Costa Rica’s dark side

July 12. On Monday, July 9, a 60-year-old man from Quebec was found dead in a hotel room he was renting in Jacó de Garabito, Costa Rica.

Though Serge Gravel reportedly died from three gunshot wounds to the chest, Costa Rican authorities are insisting he committed suicide, as nothing in his room was moved.

Jacó - more than a surf spot

Denise Gravel, the victim's sister, has said that this theory is not believable, given that the first shot in the thorax would have debilitated him. As well, she has told French-language media in Quebec that he appeared to be happy in Costa Rica: “Il était toujours souriant”, she said – “He was always smiling”.

Wednesday 11 July 2012

Jalisco dumps PAN for PRI

(A version of this article first appeared at Global Delivery Report).

July 11. Mexico’s election on July 1st not only elected a new president, it also brought in a new governor for the state of Jalisco, where the capital city, Guadalajara, is an important hub for investment in technology and innovation.

The governor-elect is the telegenic 38-year-old lawyer Jorge Aristóteles Sandoval Díaz of the centrist PRI party. He defeated the business-friendly PAN party, which has held the governor’s chair in this culturally conservative, pro-catholic state for the past 18 years.

Enrique Peña Nieto and Sandoval Díaz campaigning together

Mr. Sandoval Díaz, whose father is a magistrate with the Supreme Court in Jalisco, will have a friend at Los Pinos, Mexico’s White House. The president elect Enrique Peña Nieto is also from PRI, which ruled Mexico from 1929 to 2000.

Monday 2 July 2012

In Mexico, Peña Nieto’s masters get what they paid for

In the end, if this is the end, it was much closer than many thought.

Mexico’s left-of-centre PRD and its candidate,  Andrés Manuel López Obrador, gained 31.71% of the popular vote in the country’s presidential election, with Enrique Peña Nieto of the PRI capturing 38.05%.

Josefina Vázquez Mota of the ruling right-of-centre PAN placed third, at 25.86%, with smaller parties picking up the remainder.

(For results in real-time go here. Also note that, as of this post, López Obrador has yet to concede).

Peña Nieto had been polling in the low 40s, with López Obrador in the high 20s. The spread had consistently been from 13 to 18 percentage points. The closer gap could be due to a higher turnout of young people swayed by the #YoSoy132 youth movement.

#YoSoy132 activists monitoring the vote late into the evening at their 
command post under the Monumento a la Revolucion, Mexico City, July 1 

Peña Nieto was saved by his effective party apparatus, which has spent the past 12 years regrouping. The PRI ruled Mexico continuously from 1929 to 2000, and was infamous for having a well-oiled political machine that bought and stole its way to the presidency every six years.