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Nigeria Seeks Testimony From Shell, Halliburton Over Payments

Nigerian investigators have asked to question officials from Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Halliburton Co.’s local unit in separate probes of allegedly illegal payments, the country’s financial crimes agency said.

Luis Mera, managing director of Halliburton’s local unit, provided a statement today, Femi Babafemi, a spokesman for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, said by phone today from Abuja. Peter Robinson, a vice president for Africa at Shell, is expected to be questioned tomorrow after the company sent a letter saying he will be available, Babafemi said.

“We’ll cooperate fully with any investigation by the authorities,” Tony Okonedo, Shell spokesman in Nigeria, said by phone today. He gave no further details. Officials at Halliburton in Nigeria couldn’t immediately be reached.

Mera was questioned in connection with alleged payment of $180 million to Nigerian officials by a group including KBR, a former subsidiary of Halliburton, to win a $6 billion liquefied natural-gas plant contract, Babafemi said. Robinson will be questioned over alleged payments made on Shell’s behalf by Panalpina Welttransport Holding AG, Babafemi said.

KBR and Halliburton agreed to pay $579 million to the U.S. Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission in February 2009 for bribery payments from 1994 to 2004. Panalpina Welttransport Holding AG, a Swiss freight company, Shell and five oil services companies agreed to pay $236.5 million to resolve a U.S. probe of overseas bribery, the Justice Department said on Nov. 4.

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