Alcoa, which employs hundreds in Massena and is the North Country’s largest private employer, is having a bad couple of days. The company reported Thursday that it lost $2.34 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013 (WWNY-TV); the company’s also dealing with low aluminum prices that could negatively impact its profits.
More stunningly, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced yesterday that Alcoa and an affiliate will pay fines totaling $384 million in criminal and civil penalties for paying bribes to royal family members in Bahrain (NPR.org). Specifically,
An SEC investigation found that more than $110 million in corrupt payments were made to Bahraini officials with influence over contract negotiations between Alcoa and a major government-operated aluminum plant. Alcoa’s subsidiaries used a London-based consultant with connections to Bahrain’s royal family as an intermediary to negotiate with government officials and funnel the illicit payments to retain Alcoa’s business as a supplier to the plant. Alcoa lacked sufficient internal controls to prevent and detect the bribes, which were improperly recorded in Alcoa’s books and records as legitimate commissions or sales to a distributor.
There’s much more detail in the SEC’s press release. Needless to say, this did not happen locally in Massena.