Bahrain Arm Accuses Alcoa of Corruption

US aluminum giant bribed, defrauded, and overcharged, lawsuit alleges
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 28, 2008 10:47 AM CST
The world headquarters of Alcoa Inc. are seen along the north shore of the Allegheny River in Pittsburgh in this April 10, 2007 file photo. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, file)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A company controlled by Bahrain's government has filed a lawsuit in US federal court accusing metals giant Alcoa of a host of shady business practices, the Wall Street Journal reports. Pittsburgh-based Alcoa, one of the world's biggest aluminum companies, systematically overcharged Bahrain Aluminum for raw materials and funneled money to corrupt officials during a 15-year conspiracy, the suit charges.

The suit is expected to highlight the use of intermediaries to avoid US laws making it illegal for American companies to pay bribes in foreign countries. Records show that $2 billion paid to Alcoa by the Bahrain company found its way to tiny companies in other countries; the lawsuit claims this money was used to grease the palms of Bahraini officials.