June 12, 2012 / 1:58 PM / in 6 years

U.S. court rejects Alcoa bid to dismiss Bahrain bribe case

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A U.S. federal court on Monday rejected aluminum maker Alcoa’s (AA.N) bid to dismiss a racketeering lawsuit related to its shipments to Aluminium Bahrain (Alba), according to a written ruling in the case.

In the lawsuit, filed in Pittsburgh federal court in Pennsylvania, Alba ALBH.BH accused Alcoa of conspiring with businessman Victor Dahdaleh to orchestrate bribes in Bahrain and to overcharge Alba for alumina, a material used to make aluminum.

Alcoa had argued that the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, known as RICO, could not be applied to the case because it involved foreign entities.

But U.S. District Judge Donetta Ambrose said Alba’s claims made it clear that the alleged scheme’s origins were located in the United States.

“The control of the enterprise, the decision-making vital to the sustainability of the enterprise, came from Pittsburgh,” Ambrose wrote.

Libby Archell, an Alcoa spokeswoman, said: “A decision on the motion to dismiss is not a ruling on merits of the case.”

    “We look forward to presenting the facts related to Alba’s allegations and vigorously defending our position as the litigation unfolds,” Archell said.

    Alba could not be reached for comment outside business hours.

    The case is Aluminium Bahrain BSC v Alcoa Inc, William Rice and Victor Dahdaleh, #08-CV-299 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

    Additional reporting by Ernest Scheyder; Editing by Paul Tait

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