Spain police raid metals giant Alcoa over plant closures
Spanish police on Thursday carried out multiple raids targeting the premises of US aluminium giant Alcoa on suspicion of fraud in the closure of smelting plants in northwestern Spain.
In a statement, police said investigators from its economic and financial crimes unit were searching Alcoa’s Madrid headquarters as well as its premises in the towns of Aviles and La Coruna.
The operation is to secure evidence for an investigation by Spain’s National Court into “the suspected fraudulent liquidation” of Alcoa’s aluminium production plants, a police spokeswoman said.
Around 100 police specialists were involved in the operation along with agents from the labour and social security department, a police statement said.
In total, investigators were searching 11 sites across Spain, including production plants, lawyers’ offices and private homes with raids also taking place in the southern city of Malaga and in Castellon near Valencia on the eastern coast.
Attempts to reach Alcoa to comment on the raids were unsuccessful.
In October 2018, Alcoa said it would shut down two of its three aluminium plants in northwestern Spain on the grounds they were unproductive, threatening hundreds of jobs and sparking angry protests.
In July 2019, Alcoa sold both plants to a Swiss hedge fund which then sold them on to Grupo Industrial Riesgo, the current owner.
Investigators are looking into whether there was any fraudulent activity when Alcoa disposed of plants in Aviles and La Coruna.
A year later it announced the closure of its third plant in the northern port town of San Cibrao.
The investigation was sparked by a complaint by a trade associations body and 20 other plaintiffs citing fraud and misappropriation of property.