Alcoa offers Alba $45m to settle lawsuit

US aluminum maker is alleged with bribing officials in Bahrain and overcharging Alba by $500m
Alcoa offers Alba $45m to settle lawsuit
By Claire Valdini
Wed 11 Jul 2012 12:52 PM

Aluminum maker Alcoa has offered Bahrain Aluminum (Alba) at least $45m to settle a lawsuit which has alleged that US-based Alcoa bribed senior officials in Bahrain which caused Alba to pay almost $500m more than it should have for raw materials.

Alco said it had also offered Alba a long-term supply contract and could charge up to $75m more against Alcoa’s future earnings to settle the lawsuit, Associated Press reported, citing a statement by Alco in a company’s earnings report.

“We continue to maintain that the facts do not support the claims brought by Alba. ... However, we are open to settlement to avoid the time and expense of complex litigation,” Libby Archell, a spokesperson for Alcoa, said.

A US federal court last month rejected Alcoa’s bid to dismiss the case, which accused the firm of conspiring with businessman Victor Dahdaleh to orchestrate bribes in Bahrain and to overcharge Alba for alumina, a material used to make aluminum.

Alcoa argued that the case should be dismissed because US federal law doesn’t apply to “allegations of essentially foreign enterprises and foreign acts of bribery”, it said in court papers.

But US District Judge Donneta Ambrose said Alba’s claims made it clear that the alleged scheme's origins were located in the US.

One defendant is Dahdaleh, who was charged Oct in the UK with six counts of making corrupt payments, two counts of money laundering and one charge of conspiracy to corrupt. He is accused of paying bribes to Alba officials to win contracts for Alcoa.

A former Alba executive, Bruce Allan Hall, was charged February 15 by UK prosecutors with corruption and money laundering. Hall was extradited from Australia to London to face the charges.

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