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Aluminium Bahrain, B.S.C. ("Alba") today announced that it has settled its racketeering and fraud suit against Alcoa Inc. ("Alcoa") in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. Today’s settlement, which has a total value to Alba of $447 million, will be realized in a combination of cash and a long-term alumina sales agreement.
Speaking today from Bahrain, Alba’s Chairman Mahmood Hashim Al-Kooheji said, "This is an historic day in our long campaign to recover losses suffered by Alba over more than twenty years."
Alba is one of the largest industrial companies in the Middle East and the fourth largest aluminum smelter in the world. The company’s shares are also listed on the Bahrain Bourse and the London Stock Exchange.
Alba’s civil suit, which was filed on February 28, 2008 against Alcoa, Alcoa World Alumina, LLC and other individual defendants is the first case, brought by a foreign business in a U.S. court, to recover losses resulting from alleged corrupt activity by corporations and individuals in the United States and elsewhere.
The complaint alleges that the defendants made unlawful payments to officials in Bahrain. At the request of the U.S. Department of Justice, the case was stayed for nearly four years to allow an investigation under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act to proceed. On June 11, 2012, the U.S. District Court denied motions by Alcoa and the other defendants seeking to dismiss Alba’s RICO claims and ordered the case to proceed to the discovery phase.
Today’s settlement, which included no admission of liability, resulted in the release of all claims against Alcoa and the related Alcoa defendants. In his statement today, Mr. Al-Kooheji added: "The new leadership of Alcoa is to be commended for this fair and transparent settlement, which marks a turning point for Alba in its legal efforts to recover losses suffered over a long period of time. While we turn the page in our relationship with Alcoa, our shareholders, employees and the people of Bahrain should know that we will continue to manage Alba’s business with transparency and integrity."
Alba’s principal shareholder is Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company, the investment arm of the Kingdom of Bahrain, which manages the Government’s non-oil and gas related assets, and supports the Government’s efforts to build a diversified economy and grow the wealth of the country for the benefit of future generations. Mumtalakat is committed to the highest standards of transparency, corporate governance, and international best practices, in line with the reforms initiated by His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.
Also named in Alba’s RICO case is Canadian businessman Victor Dahdaleh, who did not participate in today’s settlement and remains a defendant in the U.S. civil suit. Dahdaleh is currently under indictment brought by the Serious Fraud Office in the United Kingdom on criminal bribery charges, based on corrupt activities that also victimized Alba. Dahdaleh’s criminal trial is scheduled to begin in London in April 2013. Alba’s civil RICO case against Dahdaleh in the United States is expected to proceed on schedule in federal court in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.