Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Settlement of the Mysterious $20 Million

This article talks about the corruption in an Aluminium Smelter in Bahrain (ALBA). This case had made headlines in the international media.

The recent settlement between Aluminuim Bahrain (ALBA) and the Swiss company Glencore is strange, suspicious, and encircled with questions that needs clarification. The brief statement issued by Alba noted that it has reached an agreement with the Swiss company whereby the latter pays money to Alba as a settlement to end the dispute between the parties. This dispute has to do with the involvement of a person who receives bribes and commissions in order to seal the deals between the two companies. The statement said that this agreement is "a prelude to reinstate trade relations between the two companies".
In a separate comment Mahmoud Kooheji, Chairman of the Board of Directors in ALBA, said that this settlement is the "fruit of the huge and lengthy efforts" and it is the result of "a thorough investigation carried out by Alba and its advisers".

At first glance, this seems good but lots of questions rise up to the surface:

- According to the newspaper "The Wall Street Journal", the dispute between the two companies is related to $4.6 million whereas the settlement amount, as quoted by some sources, is $21 million!
Why should the Swiss company pay a settlement which is more than four times the disputed amount? Isn't it puzzling?

- Second, is it rational that Glencore confirms the payment of bribes and was not prosecuted in its own country, especially in light of what we know about Switzerland and its stringent laws in dealing with corruption cases? Switzerland is one of the top ten countries in the world in the field of anti-corruption.

- Third, if Glencore confirms paying bribes to officials in ALBA, how can this file be closed without taking those involved to trial?! And who are those responsible / involved?!Are they the former sales and marketing staff who were brought to trial for corruption previously? Is it rational that they are the only ones who got the whole portion of the "cake"?

Of course we thought - at first glance - that this has to do with the billion dollar case of ALBA and Alcoa. However, an official released a statement clearly indicating that such a settlement and I quote "is not related with civil proceedings brought by ALBA against Alcoa at the Criminal Court in West Pennsylvania".

Who are the real heroes of this case? Why don't they take them to trial especially knowing that they transformed Alba's profits and successes to losses and failures.

- The statement stated that it came to pave "for the resumption of relations" between the two companies, which means new contracts and transactions. The question is: How does ALBA commit itself to proceed with business relationships and transactions with a company that is already embroiled in a corruption case and has caused the company great financial loss? Is it a way to reward them for luring the officials of the company?!

The Crown Prince, Chairman of the Economic Development Board, has repeatedly stressed the importance of the Attorney General to continue to hold those responsible for any legal irregularities in the companies they manage or work within it.

The Crown Prince urged the staff of such companies to disclose any financial or administrative corruption in order to maintain public money. And the preservation of public money cannot be restored if corruption cases take place repeatedly without finding and prosecuting who is really accountable.

1 comment:

  1. Alba noted that it has reached an agreement with the Swiss company whereby the latter pays money to Alba as a settlement to end the dispute between the parties. http://www.quotemeaprice.com/sell-structured-settlement/