Dick Cheney- Corporate Criminal

Feds Probe Halliburton Nigerian Payments

Friday June 11, 1:46 PM EDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. government is investigating payments made by a Halliburton Co. (HAL) joint venture to the Nigerian government in connection with a liquefied natural gas plant project in Nigeria, the company said on Friday.

Houston-based Halliburton, one of the biggest providers of field and engineering services to the energy industry, said it met with the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Justice Department to discuss the matter. Investigators have asked Halliburton for information regarding the payments in light of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the company said.

Halliburton, once run by Vice President Dick Cheney, said it does not believe it violated the act but "there can be no assurance that government authorities would not conclude otherwise." The company also said it continues to investigate the issue internally.

TSKJ is a Portugal-registered consortium equally owned by Halliburton's Kellogg Brown & Root, Technip SA (TECF) of France, Eni SpA (ENI) affiliate Snamprogetti Netherlands and JGC Corp. (1963) of Japan.

TSKJ and others have entered into contracts to build and expand a liquefied natural gas facility project for Nigeria LNG Ltd, a major venture owned by Nigeria's state oil company and affiliates of three European oil companies including Royal Dutch/Shell Group (RD) (SHEL), France's Total (TOTF) and Italy's Agip.


It has been a difficult year for Halliburton, which faces accusations it overcharged the U.S. government for its food services and fuels delivery support work in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Its connections to Cheney also have drawn fire, especially after it secured a no-bid contract to repair Iraq's oil fields. Meanwhile it is in the thick of two separate issues in Nigeria, which human rights groups deem one of the world's most corrupt nations.

In February, Nigeria said it was investigating allegations that the consortium paid from $150 million to $180 million in kickbacks to help secure a contract to build the LNG plant. The Justice Department at that time asked for documents in connection with the allegations.

The Nigerian kickbacks issue extended to France, where a French investigating magistrate opened a probe last year into the payments. Halliburton said its representatives recently met with the magistrate and expressed willingness to cooperate.

Meanwhile in May of last year, Halliburton disclosed it owed as much as $5 million in taxes to Nigeria.

The company said an internal audit discovered that one of its overseas units paid $2.4 million to an entity owned by a Nigerian national to get favorable tax treatment in the oil-rich West African country.

An official from a local tax authority presented himself as a consultant, the company said.

Halliburton shares closed at $29.19 in Thursday trading. The New York Stock Exchange was closed Friday to mark a national day of mourning for former U.S. President Ronald Reagan.

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