Bahrain’s Alba hit by ‘substantial losses’ in bribe scam

Firm says has recovered $30m from transactions now subject of UK fraud probe
Bahrain’s Alba hit by ‘substantial losses’ in bribe scam
Victor Dahdaleh has been charged with corruption offences, UK police said
By Claire Ferris-Lay
Wed 26 Oct 2011 11:28 AM

Aluminium Bahrain (Alba) said on Tuesday that it had
suffered "substantial losses" from a series of transactions at the
centre of a UK fraud investigation.

The aluminium smelter said it had recovered more than $30m
to date but had still lost "very large amounts of money" through the
contracts linked to Canadian billionaire Victor Dahdaleh.

On Monday, the UK's Serious Fraud Squad said Dahdaleh had
been charged with corruption offences and released on police bail to appear at
City of Westminster Magistrates' Court on Oct 31.

“Today
marks a critical turning point in the investigation that began nearly five
years ago. The conduct of Victor Dahdaleh, Alcoa and others resulted in
substantial losses to Alba and its shareholders,” Mahmood Al-Kooheji, Alba's
chairman, said in an emailed statement.

He said the investigation revolved around an alleged bribery
scheme involving the sale price for finished aluminum sold by Alba.

“Our
aim, from the start, has been to recover the very large amounts of money that
were unlawfully taken from Alba and from Bahrain by these corrupt activities.”

Dahdaleh, a British and Canadian national residing in
Belgravia, London is alleged to have made payments of bribes to officials of
Aluminium Bahrain (Alba), a smelting company in Bahrain with majority state
ownership.

He denies the charges and his lawyers said he would
vigorously contest them, adding that the investigation into his activities were
"flawed".

Dahdaleh’s website identifies him as the owner and chairman
of Dadco, an investment, manufacturing and trading group with global operations.

Alba said it has filed a civil suit seeking damages against
Dahdaleh, Alcoa, and a group of other related individual and corporate
defendants in the US District Court in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The company also revealed it filed a suit in December 2009
against the Japanese trading company Sojitz Corp in the US District Court in
Houston, Texas, in connection with bribery allegations linked to the sale price
for finished aluminium sold by Alba.

Alba is ranked as one of the largest aluminium smelters in
the world, and produces more than 860,000 metric tonnes per annum of aluminium.

The SFO said in a statement on Monday that the payments were
in connection with contracts with a US company, Alcoa Inc, for supplies of
alumina shipped to Bahrain from Australia.

A spokesman for Allen & Overy, Dahdaleh's lawyers, said
on his personal website:

"Mr Dahdaleh believes the investigation into his
affairs was flawed and that he has done absolutely nothing wrong. 

"He will be vigorously contesting these charges at
every stage, confident in clearing his good name."

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