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Cross-border financial crime: corporate ownership, investigative methods and the case of Alcoa

Investigation

Cross-border financial crime: corporate ownership, investigative methods and the case of Alcoa

This piece looks at the challenges that cross-border investigations present and how identifying beneficial ownership can help quickly expose duplicitous connections and schemes.

In 2008, a civil suit was brought against the company Alcoa for racketeering and fraud. The allegations proved to be true: six years later, its subsidiary admitted to a complex bribery scheme to secure more business.

Although a win for the authorities – who were paid hundreds of millions of dollars in criminal fines – the investigation for the case was stalled for years because of significant obstacles in accessing information. Investigators were severely challenged in identifying corporate entities and their connections, which resulted in a massive delay in moving the case forward.

This exploratory study:

  • Discusses common challenges and barriers that impede cross-border investigations
  • Showcases the inefficiencies in using only open-source tools such as registries and syndicated databases
  • Explains how Orbis could have expedited the US government's investigation of Alcoa
  • Illustrates the step-by-step process with screenshots