Nigeria graft agency charges Cheney, Halliburton boss

Tue Dec 7, 2010 4:52pm GMT

By Nick Tattersall

LAGOS (Reuters) - Nigeria's anti-corruption agency filed charges against former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and the head of oil services firm Halliburton Co on Tuesday over an alleged scheme to bribe Nigerian officials.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said it had filed 16-count charges at a federal high court in Abuja against Cheney, Halliburton Chief Executive David Lesar and two other executives, in a case dating back to the mid-1990s.

It also filed charges against Halliburton as a company, which was once headed by Cheney, and four associated businesses.

"Charges have been filed against Dick Cheney and eight others (individual and entities)," EFCC spokesman Femi Babafemi told Reuters.

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.

Those charged in Nigeria include KBR Chief Executive Officer William Utt, and former KBR chief executive Albert "Jack" Stanley, who worked under Cheney when he headed Halliburton, Babafemi said.

Reading from the charge sheet, Babafemi said the executives were accused of conspiring to make a $132 million payment "for the purpose of the gratification of public officials".   Continued...

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