ShareThis Page
Home

Federal judge lets Alcoa bribe case proceed

| Monday, June 11, 2012, 7:58 p.m.

A federal judge in Pittsburgh on Monday said an international aluminum industry bribery case can move forward despite the defendant's argument that none of the alleged bribes occurred on U.S. soil.

U.S. District Judge Donetta Ambrose denied Alcoa Inc.'s motion to dismiss a lawsuit by Aluminium Bahrain BSC that claims Alcoa reaped more than $400 million in illegal profits by overcharging for alumina, which is used to make aluminum.

The foreign aluminum maker, which is known as Alba and is controlled by the Bahrain government, claims agents for Alcoa paid 26 bribes to senior company executives and government officials who then allowed the company to overcharge for the alumina. The company, one of the world's largest aluminum smelters, is seeking more than $1 billion in damages.

Alcoa, which is headquartered in New York and has an operations center on the North Side, had argued that Ambrose should throw out the case because none of Alba's claims involve events on U.S. soil or are directly tied to local company officials.

During a hearing on the motion in March, a lawyer for Alba argued that all of the decisions by Alcoa of Australia and other foreign entities lead back to the North Shore. Alcoa owns 60 percent of Alcoa of Australia.

The judge agreed that Alba's claims, if proved, show that "control of the enterprise, the decision-making vital to sustainability of the enterprise, came from Pittsburgh."

An Alba spokesperson couldn't be reached for comment.

Lori Lecker, an Alcoa spokeswoman, said in an email, "A decision on a motion to dismiss is not a ruling on the merits of the case, and we look forward to presenting the facts relating to Alba's allegations and to vigorously defending our position as this litigation unfolds."

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me