Trial for bribing Indian officials a Canadian first

Hi-tech executive Nazir Karigar collaborated with a team to bribe Indian officials in order to secure a lucrative contract for his company, Crown prosecutor Moray Welch charged during his opening statement Monday.

The trial is underway for Karigar, accused of funnelling hundreds of thousands of dollars to high ranking officials — including India’s then-minister of aviation, Praful Patel — while pursuing a facial recognition security system contract with Air India between 2005 and 2007.

Karigar worked for CryptoMetrics, a security company with offices in Ottawa, New York, and Mumbai.

A Canadian citizen, Karigar, 65, pleaded not guilty to a charge laid under the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act, introduced in 1999.

“My client denies any wrongdoing,” said defence lawyer Israel Gencher.

The lanky, soft-spoken businessman is the first Canadian standing trial under the Act.

“Whatever decision (Judge Charles Hackland) makes has potential for defining what the law will be in this area,” said Gencher.

Further evidence will prove payments were made on an ongoing basis, Welch told the court.

Witnesses include a FBI special agent.

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