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Bahrain Aluminum seeks more than $1 billion; alleges Alcoa bribes

Bahrain Aluminum seeks more than $1 billion; alleges Alcoa bribes

Alcoa Inc. bribed, overcharged and extracted "hundreds of millions" from a company owned by the Persian Gulf state of Bahrain, according to a federal lawsuit seeking more than $1 billion (euro660 million) from the American aluminum maker.
Attorneys for Aluminum Bahrain BSC filed the 34-page suit late Wednesday in U.S. District Court, Pittsburgh, where Alcoa is based.
"We have not had a chance to review the allegations, so it is difficult to comment on them," Alcoa spokesman Kevin Lowery told The Associated Press on Thursday. "But we are completely unaware of absolutely any wrongdoing by any of our employees or by the company."
The lawsuit says Alcoa used shell companies to transmit bribes and extract "hundreds of millions of dollars" in overpayments from the Bahrain company in a "massive, outrageous fraud."
"Through their conspiracy, defendants bribed one or more former senior officials of plaintiff (Aluminum Bahrain) and the government of Bahrain to induce plaintiff to cede a controlling interest in that company to defendant Alcoa and to overpay for alumina," the suit said. "The bribes were sent through a series of shell companies that defendants ultimately controlled."
Alumina is used in the smelting process for aluminum.
The suit says financial records show the Bahrain firm, also known as Alba, paid various smaller companies affiliated with Alcoa in Singapore, Switzerland and the Isle of Guernsey, with some of the money kicked back to officials who approved the contracts.
Alcoa, once the world's largest supplier of aluminum, reported a record $30.75 billion (euro20.3 billion) in revenues last year.
The suit also targets Alcoa World Alumina LLC and two men who acted on behalf of that company and Alcoa.