Nigeria charges Cheney, Halliburton boss over bribery

Nigeria's anti-corruption agency filed charges against former U.S. vice president Dick Cheney and the head of oil services giant Halliburton Co over an alleged scheme to bribe Nigerian officials.

Nigeria charges Cheney, Halliburton boss over bribery

Nigeria's anti-corruption agency filed charges against former U.S. vice president Dick Cheney and the head of oil services giant Halliburton Co on Tuesday over an alleged scheme to bribe Nigerian officials.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said it had filed 16-count charges at a federal high court in Abuja against Cheney, Halliburton Chief Executive David Lesar and two other executives, in a case dating back to the mid-1990s.

It also filed charges against Halliburton as a company, which was headed by Cheney during the 1990s, and four associated businesses. Cheney was U.S. vice president from 2001 to 2009.

"Charges have been filed against Dick Cheney and eight others (individual and entities)," EFCC spokesman Femi Babafemi said.

Houston-based engineering firm KBR, a former Halliburton unit, pleaded guilty last year to U.S. charges that it paid $180 million in bribes between 1994 and 2004 to Nigerian officials to secure $6 billion in contracts for the Bonny Island liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in the Niger Delta.

KBR and Halliburton reached a $579 million settlement in the United States. But Nigeria, France and Switzerland have conducted their own investigations into the case.

Halliburton, which sold KBR in 2007, said it had not seen the charges but repeated that its current operations in Nigeria -- raided by the EFCC last month -- are not involved.

"It is still our position that Halliburton was not involved in the project to which this bribery investigation relates and there is no legal basis for charges against Halliburton in relation to that project," spokeswoman Tara Mullee said.

Those charged in Nigeria include KBR Chief Executive Officer William Utt and former KBR CEO Albert "Jack" Stanley, who worked under Cheney when he headed Halliburton and pleaded guilty in 2008 to U.S. charges related to the case.

Reading from the charge sheet, Babafemi said the executives were accused of conspiring to make a $132 million payment "for the purpose of the gratification of public officials".


Reuters

Last Mod: 08 Aralık 2010, 14:26
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