A Canadian billionaire with ties to powerful business and world leaders, including Bill Clinton and Tony Blair, has been arrested in Britain and is facing corruption charges.
Victor Dahdaleh, 68, former president of the Canada-U.K. Chamber of Commerce and a McGill University benefactor, is alleged to have paid bribes to officials of an aluminum company in Bahrain between 2001 and 2005.
Police allege that the payments were in connection with contracts with U.S. aluminum maker Alcoa Inc., for supplies of alumina shipped to Aluminium Bahrain, a smelting company with a majority state ownership.
Mr. Dahdaleh, who was born in Jordan and holds dual Canadian and British citizenships, has denied any wrongdoing.
"Mr. Dahdaleh believes the investigation into his affairs was flawed and that he has done absolutely nothing wrong," his lawyers said in a statement Tuesday.
"He will be vigorously contesting these charges at every stage, confident in clearing his good name."
The U.K. Serious Fraud Office, a British government department responsible for investigating and prosecuting serious and complex fraud, filed the charges against Mr. Dahdaleh on Monday.
They include corruption, conspiracy to corrupt and acquiring and transferring criminal property.
The agency says in a news release that they launched the investigation in July 2009 with assistance from London Police Overseas Anti-Corruption Unit and in co-operation with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Swiss authorities.
Mr. Dahdaleh has been released on bail and is to appear in court on Oct. 31.
According to his official website, Mr. Dahdaleh is the owner and chairman of Dadco, an investment, manufacturing and trading group. Founded in 1915 by Mr. Dahdaleh's grandfather, the company's reach stretches from Europe to Australia and includes metal mining and refining operations. He is one of the most prominent Canadians in the city's business elite with a home in London's swish Belgravia neighbourhood.
Mr. Dahdaleh is the governor of the London School of Economics and sits in the board of trustees of a number of non-profit organizations, including Mr. Clinton's foundation, where he's also listed as a donor.