Halliburton Co., the world’s second-largest oilfield-services provider, said it hasn’t seen any amended charges by Nigerian authorities who plan to indict current and former employees in a bribery scandal.
Nigeria will file charges against former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and officials from five foreign companies including Halliburton over a $180 million bribery scandal arising from the construction of a $6 billion liquefied natural-gas plant, Godwin Obla, prosecuting counsel at the country’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, said yesterday.
“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 questions late yesterday.
The EFFC plans to lodge indictments in a Nigerian court “in the next three days,” Obla said in an interview. An arrest warrant for Cheney “will be issued and transmitted through Interpol,” the world’s biggest international police organization, he said.
Halliburton and its former subsidiary, KBR, agreed to pay $579 million in February 2009 to U.S. authorities for violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act through bribe payments in Nigeria that stretched from 1994 to 2004.
Cheney, 69, was chief executive officer of Halliburton from 1995 until 2000, when he became U.S. President George W. Bush’s running mate and then vice president. He formed the company’s KBR Inc. unit after acquiring Dresser Industries Inc. in 1998.
Peter Long, Cheney’s spokesman, said he couldn’t comment on the planned charges when contacted yesterday. He didn’t immediately respond to e-mailed requests for comment.
KBR was part of a group of international companies known as TSKJ, after the members’ initials, comprising Technip SA, based in Paris, Snamprogetti SpA, a unit of Eni SPA, Italy’s biggest oil producer, KBR and JGC Corp. of Japan.
Technip took a charge of 245 million euros ($342 million) related to its stake in TSJK and discussed “resolution of all potential claims” with the U.S. Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Paris-based company said on Feb. 12.
Christophe Bélorgeot, a spokesman for Technip, said in a phone interview today the Paris-based company “will cooperate with the EFCC in Nigeria.” He declined to comment further.
“Eni confirms its availability to cooperate with the local authorities in the ongoing investigations, as it has done in the past with Italian and U.S. authorities,” Gianni Di Giovanni, spokesman for the company, said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.
In addition to the probe into TSKJ, Nigeria is also investigating Panalpina Welttransport Holding AG, a Swiss freight company, in connection with illegal payments it allegedly made to Nigerian customs officials on behalf of Royal Dutch Shell Plc.
Panalpina, 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. The bribes were paid to expedite the import of goods and equipment, avoid customs duties on imported goods, extend drilling contracts and lower tax assessments, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Nigeria is Africa’s biggest crude producer and the fifth-biggest source of U.S. oil imports.