Judge: Alcoa bribery lawsuit complicated but can proceed
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A lawsuit accusing Alcoa of involvement in international bribes will move forward despite difficulties, U.S. District Judge Donetta W. Ambrose said at a status conference today.
The four-year-old lawsuit by Aluminum Bahrain BSC, or Alba, accuses Alcoa of funneling bribes through a middleman to induce Alba to buy the raw material alumina at inflated prices.
Twenty-three of the people named in court filings are based outside the U.S. and only two are current Alba employees, attorneys said at the conference.
Deposing them may be difficult, especially since some are Bahraini government officials and that country is subject to unrest.
"I think it's going to be a problem," said Judge Ambrose. "I don't know how to solve it at this point."
One defendant, Victor Dahdaleh, accused of being the middleman and conduit for bribes, faces corruption charges in the United Kingdom and a scheduled April trial.
His attorney asked for a stay of discovery involving him until after that criminal case is resolved. Judge Ambrose invited him to submit a motion which she will decide.
Judge Ambrose ordered the parties to put together a discovery schedule and try mediation before she sets a trial date. She also disclosed that her father was an Alcoa laborer, that she was offered but did not accept an Alcoa scholarship to college and that her son works for the Securities and Exchange Commission, which along with the Department of Justice is involved in a criminal probe of the bribery allegations.
She said her son does not work in enforcement.
Alcoa has said it is cooperating with the criminal investigation.
First Published June 25, 2012 2:52 pm