December 16th, 2010
The Raw Story
By: John Byrne
The massive industrial conglomerate Halliburton has reportedly offered to pay $250 million to settle charges against its former chief executive, ex-Vice President Dick Cheney, in a multi-million dollar bribery case.
Nigeria filed charges against Cheney last week in an investigation of alleged bribery estimated at $180 million. Prosecutors named both Halliburton and KBR in the charges, as well as three European oil and engineering companies — Technip SA, EniSpa, and Saipem Construction. Eleven Halliburton officials were arrested last month and freed on bail Nov. 29.
The charges allege that engineering contractor KBR, until 2007 a subsidiary of Halliburton, was among companies that paid bribes to secure a $6 billion contract for a natural gas plant. KBR pleaded guilty to the same bribes in a US court in 2009, and agreed to pay a $382 million fine. The Nigerian charges appear to stem from the US case — though, in that trial, Cheney was never directly charged.
The $250 million figure would include a direct $130 million fine by the company and an agreement to repatriate another $120 million from Switzerland.
Representatives for Cheney and Halliburton met with Nigerian officials in London over the weekend.
In the United States, KBR has already admitted bribing Nigerian officials. In February 2009, the company agreed to pay a $402 million fine. Halliburton itself paid $177 million to settle allegations paid to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), but didn’t admit wrongdoing. Still, despite the settlements, Halliburton’s spokeswoman said “there is no legal basis for the charges” in a statement Dec. 8.
Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission spokesman Femi Babafemi told Reuters the company had offered to pay up to $250 million.
“They have made offers of fines to be paid in penalties. They offered to pay $120 million in addition to the repatriation of $130 million trapped in Switzerland,” Babafemi said.
“It will need to be ratified by the government and we expect a decision by the end of the week,” he added.
Earlier this month, Halliburton said they hadn’t seen the new charges, but still denied their involvement.
“Halliburton’s oil-field services operations in Nigeria have never in any way been part of the LNG project and none of the Halliburton employees have ever had any connection to or participation in that project,” Tara Mullee Agard, a spokeswoman for the Houston-based company, said in an e-mailed response to Bloomberg.
Cheney led Halliburton as CEO and Chairman of the Board from 1995 to 2000.
December 6th, 2010
By: Mara Gay
Julian Assange may be getting some unlikely company.
If Nigeria has its way, former Vice President Dick Cheney will be next on Interpol’s international “wanted” alert, for bribery charges related to his time as the CEO of Halliburton.
Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency says it plans to file charges against Cheney in connection with $180 million in bribes a Halliburton subsidiary paid to Nigerian officials to help secure a $1.2 billion contract during his tenure as head of the company. “We are filing charges against Cheney,” Femi Babafemi, the country’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission chief, told Reuters today.
Halliburton admitted to the charges in a U.S. court last year and paid $579 million in civil penalties, but Cheney himself was not implicated.
Now, though, Nigerian officials want to try Cheney, and on their own turf at that. Apparently they plan to ask Interpol, the international police agency, to issue an alert for the former vice president in the next three days, similar to the one issued for WikiLeaks head Assange. The alert “will be issued and transmitted through Interpol,” Godwin Obla, chief counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, told Bloomberg.