Bahrain corruption scandal

Blair and Dahdaleh

Today, the Sydney Morning Herald from Australia writes about a big corruption scandal in the international aluminium industry. It involves Canadian millionaire Victor Phillip Dahdaleh (a crony of Tony Blair), Alcoa corporation, a sheikh and ex-oil minister of Bahrain, and others.

From the Daily Mail in Britain:

Billionaire Labour donor ‘paid £40million in bribes to secure aluminium contracts’

Victor Dahdaleh, 70, is accused of running the ‘criminal conspiracy’ for eight years between 1998 and 2006

Said to have authorised corrupt payments of £38million to be paid to Sheikh Isa Bin Ali Al Khalifa alone

Sheikh Isa member of Bahraini royal family, minister of oil and industry for the Arab state and chairman for multibillion-dollar aluminium firm Alba

By Anna Edwards

PUBLISHED: 17:27 GMT, 5 November 2013 | UPDATED: 20:22 GMT, 5 November 2013

Canadian-British businessman Victor Dahdaleh paid bribes of £38m to a senior member of the Bahraini royal family to win contracts worth at least $3bn between the Gulf state’s national aluminium champion and western companies, a London court heard: here.

British businessman Victor Dahdaleh paid about 40 million pounds ($64 million) in bribes to the former chairman and chief executive officer of Bahrain’s state-owned aluminium producer, a prosecutor said: here.

Victor Dahdaleh, the Canadian-British businessman facing corruption charges in the UK, and his lawyers at a top City firm interfered with a prosecution witness, preventing an earlier criminal trial from taking place, a jury heard today: here.

Nov 21 2013(Reuters) – The chairman of Bahraini aluminium smelter Alba told a London court on Thursday that lawyers from a top British firm had sought to intimidate him before he gave evidence in a major criminal corruption trial: here.

A lawyer for a defendant in a corruption case suggested the Bahraini government could influence the outcome of such a criminal investigation in the UK by citing the intervention in the BAE Systems probe in 2006, it was claimed in a London court: here.

7 thoughts on “Bahrain corruption scandal

  1. December 29, 2011, 5:02 PM ET

    Fresh Allegations Emerge in RICO Lawsuit Against Alcoa

    By Joe Palazzolo

    Aluminum maker Alcoa paid $5 million in bribes to the former chief executive of Bahrain’s state-owned aluminum company and tens of millions of dollars in bribes to a former Bahrain official as part of scheme to land contracts at inflated prices, according to new allegations in a long-running racketeering lawsuit.

    Documents filed late Wednesday in federal court in Pittsburgh also allege that Alcoa allowed shell companies owned by Canadian businessman Victor Dahdaleh to masquerade as Alcoa subsidiaries.

    That way Alcoa could sell alumina, an ingredient used to make aluminum, to the shell companies at inflated prices. The shell companies, in turn, sold the overpriced alumina to the state-owned company, Aluminum Bahrain, which was apparently none the wiser, according to the documents.

    Alcoa also used the shell companies to funnel bribes to Aluminum Bahrain executives and Bahrain government officials, in return for helping secure the contracts at the inflated prices, including by providing competing bid information to Dahdaleh, the documents allege.

    “We have consistently said that the claims in this case are not supported by the facts and nothing in the RICO statement changes our view,” an Alcoa spokesman said, referring to legal name for the court documents filed Wednesday. He added that the company would be filing a motion to dismiss the lawsuit in January.

    The documents are part of a recently revived lawsuit filed in 2008 by Aluminum Bahrain, also known as Alba. They offer the most detailed description to date of the alleged scheme, through which Alcoa reaped $400 million in illegal profits, according to Alba.

    In the lawsuit, Alba accuses Alcoa of massively overcharging it for thousands of tons of alumina over a period of about 20 years. Alba, which filed an amended complaint in the case in November, is seeking more than $1 billion in damages from Alcoa.

    Dahdaleh allegedly transferred “tens of millions of dollars” between 1999 and 2004 to an official of Alba and the Bahrain government, as well as more than $5 million between 2002 and 2005 to Bruce Hall, Alba’s former CEO. The role of Hall, who was chief executive of Alba during that time, hadn’t to date been detailed.

    Dahdaleh and Hall were arrested in October in connection with the U.K. Serious Fraud Office’s investigation of Alcoa’s activities in Bahrain. The U.S. Department of Justice is also investigating Alcoa for possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which bars companies from paying bribes to foreign officials.

    Lawyers for Dahdaleh did not respond to requests for comment. A lawyer for Hall, who is awaiting extradition to the U.K., could not be immediately reached.

    The department considers many employees of state-owned companies such as Alba to be foreign officials, as far as the FCPA is concerned.

    The Alcoa spokesman said the company had not been contacted by U.K. authorities but that it was cooperating with the Justice Department.


  2. Rome: Hundreds protest closure of Alcoa plant, clash with police

    Hundreds of workers from US aluminium maker Alcoa’s Italian plant protested in Rome Monday over the planned closure of a Sardinian factory.

    The protests resulted in clashes with police. Workers threw firecrackers and tried to break through a barrier outside the economic development ministry.

    The plant is a major employer in the region that has already been badly hit by unemployment. The shutdown would threaten 2,000 jobs. One worker, Paolo Manca, 47, said, “If the factory closes, the whole of the south of Sardinia will die.”

    The UILM metalworkers’ union is preoccupied with the lowering of energy prices to make the factory competitive on a European level.

    Talks also took place this week at the economic development ministry over the planned closure, following rumours that either Swiss industrial group Klesch or the commodities giant Glencore could take over the site.

    The government said in a statement published late Monday that it would ask Klesch and Glencore “to rapidly start talks.” But Alcoa has already begun to close down the plant, blaming “factors beyond our control”, including “the economic situation and the burdens imposed by the European regulatory system.”

    Alcoa posted a net loss of US$1.151 billion (approximately €900 million) in 2009.


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