Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Nigeria Drops Bribery Charges Against Cheney, Halliburton After $250M Deal Struck


Nigeria's government has reportedly dropped bribery charges against former Vice President Dick Cheney and Halliburton, the energy firm he once headed, after the company agreed to pay a hefty settlement.

A spokesman with Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission told Reuters that the country's government accepted a $250 million offer by Halliburton -- an offer made within days of Nigeria filing a lawsuit against Cheney and Halliburton CEO David Lesar, along with other executives and firms.

The charges stem from a case involving as much as $180 million allegedly paid in bribes to Nigerian officials. Halliburton and other firms were accused of paying the bribes to win a contract to build a $6 billion liquefied natural gas plant in Nigeria's oil-rich southern delta.

Terrence O'Donnell, a lawyer representing Cheney, denied the allegations after the charges were filed. Cheney was the head of Halliburton before he served as vice president from 2001 to 2009.

Calls to Cheney representatives were not returned.

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.

Former KBR CEO Albert "Jack" Stanley pleaded guilty in 2008 to federal bribery charges in the U.S. for his role in the scheme. He is scheduled to be sentenced in federal court on Jan. 19.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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