Alcoa asked a federal judge last week to throw out a civil racketeering lawsuit that accuses the aluminum-maker of paying bribes to foreign officials to win business.
The case dates back to 2008, when Aluminum Bahrain (Alba)—a state-owned aluminum company in Bahrain—filed suit against Alcoa, claiming the U.S.-based aluminum maker conspired to overcharge Alba for alumina, a substance used to make aluminum. That case, which was reopened last year, accuses Alcoa of paying millions of dollars in bribes to officials at Alba in return for inflated contracts. Alba is seeking $1 billion in damages and claims that Alcoa received $400 million in illegal profits during the scheme.
An Alcoa spokeswoman told the Wall Street Journal that “Alba’s claims are not supported by law or by fact” and that the state-owned company “mischaracterizes any number of normal business transactions through overdrawn inferences and innuendo.”
Alongside the civil suit against Alcoa, federal officials also are investigating the company on charges it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Alcoa lawyers said the suit should be tossed because it involves a foreign dispute beyond the scope of civil racketeering law.