An Australian executive who once served as CEO of state-owned Aluminium Bahrain B.S.C. (Alba) was jailed Tuesday in the UK for 16 months.
Bruce Allen Hall, 61, pleaded guilty in 2012 to conspiracy to corrupt.
Hall was CEO of Alba from September 2001 to June 2005. He took nearly $5 million in bribes, the Serous Fraud Office said.
The court ordered Hall to repay $5.1 million to Alba in seven days or be sentenced to 10 more years in prison.
Judge Loraine-Smith said Hall cooperated with authorities throughout the investigation.
He faced six years in prison, close to the maximum sentence for conspiracy to corrupt, the judge said. His cooperation earned him a 66% reduction in his sentence. “He was also entitled to a further reduction of one-third due to entering a guilty plea,” the SFO said.
Hall spent 119 days in prison in Australia before his extradition. His UK prison sentence will be reduced by that amount, the judge said.
The SFO had alleged that Hall took bribes from Victor Dahdaleh, a dual citizen of Britain and Canada who lives in Belgravia, London.
Dahdaleh was formerly an agent for Alcoa. He allegedly bribed Alba officials in exchange for raw material supply contracts.
In January, a unit of Alcoa agreed to plead guilty in U.S. federal court to one count of violating the anti-bribery provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act with a 2004 corrupt transaction. Alcoa World Alumina LLC, a majority-owned subsidiary, paid a criminal fine of $209 million and forfeited $14 million to settle the DOJ’s charges.
Alcoa Inc., the corporate parent, also agreed to resolve civil charges brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission by disgorging $161 million.
The $384 million settlement is the 5th biggest FCPA enforcement action of all time.
The SFO’s prosecution of Dahdaleh collapsed in late 2013. After two lawyers from the U.S. law firm Akin Gump who played a crucial role in the SFO’s investigation refused to testify, the SFO said it couldn’t continue the prosecution.
The SFO also said then that Hall had changed his evidence. It didn’t elaborate.
Dahdaleh had admitted making payments to Alba officials but pleaded not guilty to the UK bribery charges. He relied on the defense of “principal’s consent” under Britain’s Prevention of Corruption Act 1906.
His lawyers said the payments to Alba officials were essentially a tax or “government sponsorship” that were common practice in Bahrain.
According to the UK charges, Dahdaleh allegedly paid about $62 million to the former Alba chairman, Sheikh Isa Bin Ali Al Khalifa.
The SFO’s July 22, 2014 release is here.
Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.