US begins probe into Alba 'bribes'
Washington, March 22, 2008
The US Justice Department has launched a criminal investigation into allegations that aluminium maker Alcoa paid bribes to officials in Bahrain.
Alba last month filed a civil suit in a federal court in Alcoa's home town of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania alleging that for 15 years the company overcharged it for aluminium precursor ingredient alumina, funnelled inflated payments to offshore companies and paid kickbacks to officials in Bahrain.
Alba is seeking more than $1 billion in damages from Alcoa and other affiliated defendants.
The Wall Street Journal said government prosecutors confirmed that they were asking the Pittsburgh court to place a temporary hold on the civil case while they pursue the criminal investigation of Alcoa.
'The United States has a direct and substantial interest in this case, as the subject matter giving rise to this case is also the subject of an ongoing federal criminal investigation,' prosecutors in the Justice Department's fraud section said.-TradeArabia News Service