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Alcoa Agent Charged in the U.K.

As detailed in Alcoa Inc’s most recent quarterly SEC filing (here):

In 2008, Aluminium Bahrain BSC (“Alba”) (see here) filed a civil lawsuit against Alcoa Inc. and others in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.  The complaint alleged that certain Alcoa entities and their agents, including Victor Phillip Dahdaleh, engaged in a conspiracy over a period of 15 years to defraud Alba. The complaint further alleged that Alcoa and its employees or agents (1) illegally bribed officials of the government of Bahrain and (or) officers of Alba in order to force Alba to purchase alumina at excessively high prices, (2) illegally bribed officials of the government of Bahrain and (or) officers of Alba and issued threats in order to pressure Alba to enter into an agreement by which Alcoa would purchase an equity interest in Alba, and (3) assigned portions of existing supply contracts between Alcoa and Alba for the sole purpose of facilitating alleged bribes and unlawful commissions. The complaint alleged that Alcoa and others violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and committed fraud.

Soon thereafter in 2008, Alcoa advised the DOJ and SEC that it became aware of these claims, had already begun an internal investigation, and that it intended to cooperate in any DOJ and SEC investigation.  In March 2008, the DOJ notified Alcoa that it had opened a formal investigation, the DOJ intervened in the civil lawsuit, and a court ordered the Alba lawsuit stayed so that the DOJ could fully conduct its investigation without the interference and distraction of the civil litigation.

In a related development yesterday on the other side of Atlantic,  the U.K. Serious Fraud Office (“SFO”) announced (here) that Dahdaleh (a British and Canadian national) has been arrested and charged “with corruption offences relating to contracts for the supply of aluminium to Bahrain.”  According to the SFO release, Dahdaleh is alleged to have made bribe payments to Alba.

Dahdaleh was charged under the U.K.’s “old” bribery statutes, not the new U.K. Bribery Act.

For more on Alba, see this prior post.

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