'most significant file of corruption'
in Washington, says US official
20 June 2005
WASHINGTON, June 20 (HalliburtonWatch.org) -- A U.S. Justice Department official held "lengthy" meetings with French authorities in Paris last week to discuss a potentially explosive bribery investigation involving Halliburton, the French newspaper Le Figaro reported today. ###
The alleged bribes were paid by a consortium of four companies, which includes Halliburton's KBR subsidiary, to officials of the Nigerian government for the purpose of winning a multibillion dollar construction contract. The consortium, known as "TSKJ," ultimately won the contract.
U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney was Halliburton's CEO when many of the alleged bribes were paid. He currently has not been accused of any wrongdoing.
Bribing foreign officials is a criminal offense under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
In 2003, French Judge Renaud Van Ruymbeke initiated an investigation after discovering $130 million in suspicious payments made to Nigerian officials from 1995 through 2002. The French company Technip is a member of the TSKJ consortium, along with KBR, Italy's Snamprogetti and Japan Gasoline Corp.
The U.S. Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission have been investigating the matter for over a year.
Investigators say some of the bribe money was found in the bank account of KBR chief Albert Jack Stanley, who was later fired by Halliburton on grounds that he accepted "improper personal benefits" related to the Nigeria contract.
Last year, Halliburton's lawyer James Doty found incriminating company documents which, he says, show "people may at the time have been planning or contemplating the necessity of money for the purpose of making bribes."
In the United States, the scandal has been confined mostly to the business press, but Le Figaro reported an unnamed U.S. source who said it is "probably the most significant file of corruption" known in Washington.
Houston, we STILL have a problem: An alternative annual report on Halliburton (see Nigeria section)
Halliburton admits it might have bribed Nigerian government
Halliburton and Nigeria: A Chronology of Key Events in the Unfolding Bribery Scandal