The UK Serious Fraud Office has today arrested and charged international businessman, Victor Michael Phillip Dahdaleh, with corruption and money laundering offences relating to contracts for the supply of aluminium to Bahrain. He has been released on conditional police bail to appear at City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 31 October 2011. The arrest follows an investigation by the SFO in co-operation with the City of London Police, the US Department of Justice and the Swiss authorities.
Mr Dahdaleh, a British and Canadian national, is alleged to have bribed officials of Aluminium Bahrain B.S.C. (“Alba”), a smelting company in Bahrain with majority state ownership. It is alleged that the bribes were paid in connection with contracts for the supply of alumina to Bahrain by US company, Alcoa Inc. Further payments were also made in connection with contracts to supply goods and services to Alba. The period covered by the charges spans 2001 to 2005.
Mr Dahdaleh has been charged with corruption offences under law now repealed by the Bribery Act 2010. Had his actions taken place after 1 July 2011, the Bribery Act 2010 would have applied and Mr Dahdaleh's actions could have had a more wide ranging impact. Under the new Act, agents who pay bribes to gain a business advantage for their principal may infect the principal with liability for the corporate criminal offence of failing to prevent bribery. The charging of Mr Dahdaleh reinforces the need for businesses to adopt adequate procedures to prevent bribes being paid by agents on their behalf. A business which implements adequate procedures to prevent bribery has a complete defence to liability under the Bribery Act 2010.
This case is indicative of the general increase in enforcement by the SFO.
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