Nigeria agency says to charge Cheney over Halliburton

Thu Dec 2, 2010 2:40pm GMT

By Nick Tattersall

LAGOS (Reuters) - Nigeria's anti-corruption police said on Thursday they planned to file charges against former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney in a $180 million bribery case involving a former unit of oil services firm Halliburton.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday summoned the country chief of Halliburton and last week detained 10 Nigerian and expatriate Halliburton staff for questioning after raiding its Lagos office.

"We are filing charges against Cheney," EFCC spokesman Femi Babafemi told Reuters, but declined to give any further details on what the charges were, or where they would be filed.

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, which was once headed by Cheney, reached a $579 million settlement in the United States but Nigeria, France and Switzerland have conducted their own investigations into the case.

Halliburton split from KBR in 2007 and has said that its current operations in Nigeria are unrelated.

It has described last week's EFCC raid as "an affront against justice", said its offices were ransacked and personnel assaulted, and pledged to defend its staff against what it said were "completely false and outrageous actions".

"As indicated in previous legal activity in the United States, one of the participants in the (Bonny Island) project was a subsidiary of Halliburton Company for part of that period of time," it said in a statement last week.   Continued...

<p>Former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney speaks about national security at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, May 21, 2009. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/Files</p>
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