Nigeria may strike deal in Halliburton, Cheney case

Tue Dec 14, 2010 10:41am GMT
 

* Nigeria says considering $250 million offer to pay fines * Charges relate to alleged bribery case from mid-1990s

By Joe Brock

ABUJA, Dec 14 (Reuters) - Nigeria's anti-corruption police said on Tuesday it may drop bribery charges against former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and oil services firm Halliburton after the company offered to pay a fine. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said it met with officials representing Cheney and Halliburton in London last week after filing 16-count charges at a federal high court in Abuja in a case dating back to the mid-1990s.

Halliburton, which has said the Nigerian charges have no legal basis, could not immediately be reached to comment on the outcome of the meeting. But EFCC spokesman Femi Babafemi said an offer had been made to pay fines totalling up to $250 million.

"They have made offers of fines to be paid in penalties. They offered to pay $120 million in addition to the repatriation of $130 million trapped in Switzerland," Babafemi said.

"It will need to be ratified by the government and we expect a decision by the end of the week," he said.

Houston-based engineering firm KBR, a former Halliburton unit, pleaded guilty last year to U.S. charges that it paid $180 million in bribes between 1994 and 2004 to Nigerian officials to secure $6 billion in contracts for the Bonny Island liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in the Niger Delta.

KBR and Halliburton reached a $579 million settlement in the United States. But Nigeria, France and Switzerland have conducted their own investigations into the case.   Continued...

 
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