Industrial Metals

"'U.S. government officials with intelligence and border security responsibilities' contacted Alcoa in January 2006 to advise the company of a continuing investigation stemming from the belief that one of its customers in Turkey was acting as a purchasing agent on behalf of the government of Iran, records show. The investigation was never publicly reported, but as a result of this notification, Libby Archell, an Alcoa spokeswoman, said scheduled deliveries to that customer were halted and the customer was notified that no additional shipments would be forthcoming. A license was needed, however, so that Alcoa could refund the customer for goods that had been paid for but not yet shipped "in order to avoid litigation and attendant discovery," the license application states.

It is unclear what product Alcoa had been shipping to the Turkish customer; OFAC redacted that information, and Ms. Archell declined to say. She said that Alcoa was 'completely unaware' and had no way of knowing that its customer was acting as a front for the Iranian government until the United States government informed the company of its investigation. The company uses an 'extremely thorough due dilligence process' to vet potential customers, she said, adding that the customer in question was not at the time on the government's blacklist of sanctioned parties." (New York Times, "Licenses Granted to U.S. Companies Run the Gamut," 12/24/10)