Dick Cheney- Corporate Criminal
Details the myriad illegal, immoral, and unethical activities of Dick Cheney when CEO of Halliburton, his obstruction of justice, and lies to the American public since his appointment as Vice President. For information on an equally corrupt politician, see link to Tom DeLay-Corporate Whore. Be sure to visit our cavernous vault of archives.
Cheney oil firm faces UK inquiry
US vice-president mired in claims of bribery and corruption against his former company in four countries
David Leigh, Rob Evans, David Pallister, and David Teather in New York
Saturday October 30, 2004
British authorities have opened a new front in the widening investigation into allegations of bribery at Halliburton, the American oil services business, while it was being run by the US vice-president, Dick Cheney.
The Guardian has learned that the Serious Fraud Office has joined the international effort at the request of the US Department of Justice in Washington. French and Nigerian officials are already involved in the inquiry.
Halliburton has become a political liability for the Bush administration as the US prepares to vote in presidential elections next week.
The company, one of the chief government contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan, has been dogged by controversy, which includes claims of White House favouritism in awarding the firm billions of dollars of contracts without being forced to bid and Pentagon allegations that the firm has massively overcharged for its work.
It emerged late on Thursday that the FBI had launched an inquiry into how Halliburton secured contracts in Iraq, so far worth almost $9bn (£4.9bn).
The Nigerian investigation centres on $180m in payments allegedly made by a consortium led by Halliburton to secure the contract to build a natural gas plant in Nigeria.
The cash was allegedly channelled through a US-owned oil engineering firm in London called MW Kellogg and was handled by a company executive based in Berkshire. The funds were said to have been paid into a Swiss bank by a British lawyer.
The Democratic challenger, John Kerry, has made repeated jibes at Halliburton during his campaign for the White House, suggesting that the vice-president is using his position to look after his friends. Referring to the shortage of flu vaccine in the US, Mr Kerry told a rally in Orlando last week: "If Halliburton made flu shots, you'd have more flu shots here than there are oranges in the state of Florida."
Mr Cheney ran Dallas-based Halliburton for five years before quitting to run for office in 2000. He banked $36m when he left and continues to receive deferred income from the company. There has been no suggestion that Mr Cheney had any personal knowledge of the Nigerian payments.
When Mr Kerry's running mate, John Edwards, referred to the Nigerian scandal during a televised debate earlier this month, Mr Cheney said there was "no substance" to the charges. But Halliburton admitted last month that it had found evidence that bribery was at least discussed. In June, the US company cut ties with a former senior executive, Jack Stanley, and said he had received as much as $5m in "improper personal benefits" related to the Nigerian scandal. The company has said it is cooperating with authorities.
A French judge has been inquiring into the alleged bribes for the past two years. He has been joined by a Nigerian par liamentary commission. The scandal has gathered pace in recent months as the justice department and the chief US financial watchdog, the Securities and Exchange Commission, launched investigations.
The French judge, Renaud Van Ruymbeke, has called for Halliburton's agent, London solicitor Jeffrey Tesler, to return to Paris next month for a second round of questioning. Mr Tesler has denied wrongdoing.
Malcolm Bruce, the Liberal Democrat trade spokesman who has pressed the British government to investigate the bribery allegations, welcomed the SFO inquiry but questioned why it had taken so long.
"Clearly the SFO is only about to take action, well after everyone else and only when asked by other governments who have been taking action for months. The British government appears to have a pretty supine and passive attitude to stamping out bribery in international contracts. The resources are not there, the will is not there."
Halliburton was secretly awarded a contract ahead of the Iraq invasion, then worth up to $7bn, to help repair the country's oil industry in the wake of war. Halliburton was handed the contract without bidding. It was also given an other contract on a no-bid basis to provide logistical backup to American troops.
The FBI investigation is based on claims by a senior army contracting official who claims she was frozen out of decisions when she questioned the Halliburton contracts.
Halliburton has repeatedly denied wrongdoing. "The old allegations have once again been recycled, this time one week before the election," a spokeswoman said.
The company has paid $7.5m to settle claims that it failed to disclose a crucial change in its accounting policy that allowed it to report higher profits and shore up its share price while Mr Cheney was in charge.