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Swiss Court Convicts Ex-Minister and PM Advisor Isa bin Ali Al Khalifa in Alba-Alcoa Case

2015-09-09 - 9:38 p

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): Swissinfo website said that the Federal Criminal Court in Bellinzona convicted the Bahraini Prime Minister's Adviser and current chairman of Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company of receiving bribes in the well-known Alba-Alcoa case.

Swissinfo stated that the Swiss Federal Criminal Court in Bellinzona found that the involvement of Isa bin Ali (Former Minister of Oil, the then chairman of Alba and member of the Bahraini ruling family) in the case's corruption has been "clearly established", indicating that it rejected its appeal.

Isa bin Ali has been the focus of investigations carried out since 2011 by the federal prosecutor's office.

The Federal Criminal Court said the former minister had received 43 payments worth $24 million into four bank accounts, including two in Switzerland.

The case, still under investigation by the Federal Prosecutor's Office, involved money originating from bribes made by the US aluminium giant Alcoa to Bahraini authorities in charge of the country's firm Aluminium Bahrain (Alba).

In January last year, Alcoa pleaded guilty in the United States to having paid millions of dollars to officials in the Gulf emirate through an intermediary in London. The company agreed at the time to pay $384 million (145 million BD) in fines.

Documents in the US case charged that Alcoa had illicitly secured a long-term agreement to supply alumina - a material used to produce aluminium - to Alba, using shell companies owned by a London-based businessman. Some $110 million in bribes had been paid to Bahraini authorities, according to the charges.

An earlier criminal trial in Britain against the middleman involved in the transactions collapsed when the judge instructed the jury to return a non-guilty verdict, after witnesses refused to give evidence.

In Switzerland, the case against the Anglo-Canadian businessman, whose operations are based in Lausanne, benefited from a partial closure in April when money-laundering charges against him were dropped, according to Swissinfo website.

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