5/14/2008

NIGERIA: Ex-Halliburton unit in bribery probe

US anti-bribery investigators are targeting a former Halliburton subsidiary over its work on a key Royal Dutch Shell project in Nigeria, widening a corruption probe into the country’s troubled oil industry.

The US investigation into Halliburton ’s Nigerian operations – which covers a period when it was headed by Dick Cheney, US vice-president – has uncovered evidence of bribery and is now looking at a range of payments made in a number of countries over the past 20 years, according to the company.

The developments highlight the growing problems the investigation is creating for Halliburton and the western multinationals it has worked for in a nation whose oil industry is plagued by production disruptions and is the focus of increasing competition from Chinese companies.

The US authorities say they have evidence that an agent used by Halliburton ’s former KBR subsidiary made payments to Nigerian officials in connection with the Shell project, according to a filing made by Halliburton to the US Securities and Exchange Commission at the end of last month. Halliburton and KBR have suspended the agent and another agent who had worked for KBR on “several current projects and on numerous older projects going back to the early 1980s”, the filing says..

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[Source: CorpWatch

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