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Posts Tagged ‘Cheney Bribery Charges’

Does Nigeria Have a Case Against Dick Cheney?

Africa Legal Brief

Monday, 13 December 2010 20:42

Nigerian officials have indicted former Vice President Dick Cheney for bribing the Nigerian government in the ’90s. The accusation stems from Cheney’s reign as CEO of Halliburton from 1995 to 2000. Last year, a subsidiary of Halliburton, plead guilty in U.S. courts to paying bribes from 1995 to 2004 in order to build a liquefied natural gas plant in Niger Delta. While a number of liberals are salivating at the notion of Cheney locked up in a Nigerian prison, few predict that the U.S. will ever agree to extradite him. Additionally, it doesn’t help that Nigeria happens to be one of the most corrupt governments in the world. Here’s what reporters and bloggers are making of the indictment:

* This Is an Important Move, writes Juan Cole at Informed Comment:

That Nigeria is moving forward with this prosecution is symbolically important … So far Bush and Cheney, who are guilty of a long list of crimes against international and US domestic law, have had impunity from even so much as firm condemnation by any international body. It is not impossible that a corruption charge against Cheney could chip a chink in that so far impenetrable armor. At least their reputations should be tarnished!

* Here’s What Nigeria Is Basing This Off  “Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission pointed specifically,” writes Tom Diemer at Politics Daily, “at a former Halliburton subsidiary, Houston-based KBR, which pleaded guilty last year in U.S. federal court to authorizing and paying bribes in Nigeria for plant contracts between 1995 and 2004.” In that case, KBR paid $402 million in fines and Halliburton paid $177 million, adds CNN.

* This Could Be Political, writes Jon Gambrell at The Associated Press:

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan faces a coming primary election in the nation’s ruling party against former Vice President Atiku Abubakar. Critics have tried to connect Abubakar to this bribery case in the past and the charges come as the election looms. Abubakar has denied any involvement.

* Locals Are Skeptical, observes Christian Purefoy at CNN:

Many observers in Nigeria regard the move as a publicity stunt by the commission ahead of national elections this April and a symbolic effort to display resolve against government corruption. The agency has had limited success in getting successful prosecutions and hasn’t charged any high-profile people since its top commissioner was removed from the body in 2007.

* Cheney’s Lawyer Is Full of It, writes Marcy Wheeler at Fire Dog Lake. She responds to Cheney attorney Terence O’Donnell who said the former vice president was innocent because US investigators “found no suggestions of any impropriety” when they looked into the matter during the Bush years. Wheeler writes:

O’Donnell suggests that because the US conducted its own investigation–mostly during a period when Cheney remained the most powerful man in government and when DOJ was clearly politicized–then Nigeria should be unable to do so, too.

* Don’t Get Your Hopes Up, Nigeria  “Whether or not the U.S. authorities will honor the Interpol warrant issued by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in Nigeria remains to be seen,” writes Pratap Chatterjee at The Daily Beast. “But, somehow, I don’t see Cheney agreeing to leave Ballintober, his nine-acre spread in St. Michael’s that includes extensive gardens, ornamental pools, and spectacular views from a large, glass-walled waterside room, for the prison cells of Nigeria.”

* Odd, Coming from Nigeria, writes Scott Baldauf at The Christian Science Monitor:

The indictment of a major US political and corporate figure marks a tough new step for Nigeria’s relatively untested anticorruption commission. Nigeria ranks as one of the most corrupt countries in the world, ranked 134th out of 178 countries by anticorruption group Transparency International.

SOURCE

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Nigeria charges former US VP Cheney over bribery

By JON GAMBRELL

The Associated Press  Via- The Washington Post
Tuesday, December 7, 2010; 3:50 PM

LAGOS, Nigeria — Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency on Tuesday charged former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney over a bribery scheme involving oil services firm Halliburton Co. during time he served as its top official, a spokesman said.

The charges stem from a case involving as much as $180 million allegedly paid in bribes to Nigerian officials, said Femi Babafemi, a spokesman for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

Halliburton and other firms allegedly paid the bribes to win a contract to build a $6 billion liquefied natural gas plant in Nigeria’s oil-rich southern delta, he said.

Terrence O’Donnell, a lawyer representing Cheney, denied the allegations.

“The Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission investigated that joint venture extensively and found no suggestion of any impropriety by Dick Cheney in his role of CEO of Halliburton,” O’Donnell’s said in a statement sent to The Associated Press. “Any suggestion of misconduct on his part, made now, years later, is entirely baseless.”

The Halliburton case involves its former subsidiary KBR, a major engineering and construction services firm based in Houston. In February 2009, KBR Inc. pleaded guilty in U.S. federal court to authorizing and paying bribes from 1995 to 2004 for the plant contracts in Nigeria.

KBR, which split from Halliburton in 2007, agreed to pay more than $400 million in fines in the plea deal.

Halliburton spokeswoman Tara Mullee Agard said the company had not seen the new charges Tuesday, but insisted the company had nothing to do with the project.

Babafemi said Halliburton, its Nigerian subsidiary, Halliburton CEO David J. Lesar, former KBR CEO Albert “Jack” Stanley and current KBR CEO William Utt all face similar charges in the case. The spokesman said each charge in the 16-count indictment carried as much as three years in prison.

Heather L. Browne, a KBR spokeswoman, said in a statement that Utt joined the firm in 2006, two years after prosecutors say the bribery case concluded.

“The actions of the Nigerian government suggest that its officials are wildly and wrongly asserting blame in this matter,” Browne’s statement read. “KBR will continue to vigorously defend itself and its executives, if necessary, in this matter.”

Stanley pleaded guilty in 2008 to federal bribery charges for his role in the scheme. He is scheduled to be sentenced in federal court on Jan. 19.

MORE HERE

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KBR Statement Regarding Latest Nigerian FCPA Charges

Houston, Texas – December 7, 2010 – Recent press reports name KBR Chairman, President and CEO William P. Utt in the latest apparent charges to be filed by the Nigerian Government. The issues related to this latest set of charges involve violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) that occurred between 1994 and 2004.

William P. Utt joined KBR in February 2006 and the remainder of KBR’s executive team was appointed thereafter. No one on KBR’s current executive team was involved in the FCPA violations. KBR in no way condones or tolerates illegal or unethical behavior. Conducting our business with the utmost integrity is at the core of the work we perform each day.

The actions of the Nigerian government suggest that its officials are wildly and wrongly asserting blame in this matter.

KBR will continue to vigorously defend itself and its executives if necessary, in this matter.

MORE HERE

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Nigeria to Charge Dick Cheney in Pipeline Bribery Case

December 01, 2010, 5:05 PM EST

Bloomberg Businessweek

By Elisha Bala-Gbogbo

(Updates with Eni comment in seventh paragraph.)

Dec. 1 (Bloomberg) — Nigeria will file charges against former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and officials from five foreign companies including Halliburton Co. over a $180 million bribery scandal, a prosecutor at the anti-graft agency said.

Indictments will be lodged in a Nigerian court “in the next three days,” Godwin Obla, prosecuting counsel at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, said in an interview today at his office in Abuja, the capital. An arrest warrant for Cheney “will be issued and transmitted through Interpol,” the world’s biggest international police organization, he said.

Peter Long, Cheney’s spokesman, said he couldn’t immediately comment when contacted today and said he would respond later to an e-mailed request for comment.

Obla said charges will be filed against current and former chief executive officers of Halliburton, including Cheney, who was CEO from 1995 to 2000, and its former unit KBR Inc., based in Houston, Texas; Technip SA, Europe’s second-largest oilfield- services provider; Eni SpA, Italy’s biggest oil company; and Saipem Construction Co., a unit of Eni. Obla didn’t identify the former officials whom he said held office when the alleged bribes were paid.

Last week, Nigeria arrested at least 23 officials from companies including Halliburton, Saipem, Technip and a former subsidiary of Panalpina Welttransport Holding AG in connection with alleged illegal payments to Nigerian officials. Those detained were all freed on bail on Nov. 29.

MORE HERE

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Halliburton and Nigeria:
A Chronology of Key Events in the Unfolding Bribery Scandal

1988: Dresser Industries acquires M.W. Kellogg, ten years before Dresser merges with Halliburton.

September 1994: M.W. Kellogg and three other companies form a partnership known as TSKJ, incorporated in Medeira, Portugal. Each partner owns a 25 percent equal share. Kellogg’s three other partners are Technip of France, Italy’s Snamprogetti, and Japan Gasoline Corp. The partnership submits a bid to Nigeria LNG to build a natural gas plant in Nigeria. Nigeria LNG is owned by the Nigerian government and Royal Dutch/Shell Group. TSKJ’s $2 billion bid is not immediately accepted even though it was 5 percent lower than a bid submitted by competitor, Bechtel Group, Inc.

November 1994: As TSKJ awaits Nigeria’s decision on the bid, Wojciech Chodan, an executive at Kellogg and later a consultant for Kellogg Brown & Root, meets with London lawyer Jefferey Tesler, who is known for his contacts and friendly relations with the Nigerian government, including its dictator Gen. Sani Abacha. During the meeting, they discussed channeling $40 million to Gen. Abacha through Mr. Tesler’s firm Tri-Star, based in Gibralter, Spain.

March 1995: TSKJ formally hires Mr. Tesler as agent; TSKJ’s bid has still not been accepted by Nigeria LNG. Mr. Tesler’s employment contract is signed by an M.W. Kellogg executive on behalf of the TSKJ partnership. Mr. Tesler had been working on behalf of TSKJ prior to March 1995 and the employment contract was given to Mr. Tesler as a reward for his prodding of Nigerian officials. The employment contract provided that Mr. Tesler would be paid $60 million if Nigeria awarded the construction contract to TSKJ. Mr. Tesler’s Tri-Star was contracted to receive at least $160 million in five agreements signed between 1995 and 2002, and the funds were directed to bank accounts in Switzerland and Monaco.

March 20, 1995: Dan Etete replaces Nigeria’s former oil minister, who has a falling out with the dicatator, Gen. Abacha. “In an interrogation of Mr. Tesler, a French magistrate described the London lawyer’s transfer of $2.5 million into Swiss bank accounts held by Mr. Etete under a false name between 1996 and 1998. Mr. Tesler confirmed making the payments but told the magistrate that the money was for an investment in offshore oil exploration leases in Nigeria and that he wasn’t aware the accounts belonged to Mr. Etete, according to people familiar with the interrogation.” (Wall Street Journal, Sept. 29, 2004.)

June 1995: Albert Jack Stanley is promoted to president and chief operating officer of M.W. Kellogg after serving as executive vice president since 1991 and various positions since 1975.

August 1995: Dick Cheney is hired as CEO of Halliburton, three years before he directs the merger of Halliburton with Dresser Industries and M.W. Kellogg. He serves as CEO until August of 2000.

MORE HERE

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