DALLAS — A former Halliburton Co. employee wants Congress to investigate what he claims are the company’s efforts to cover up violations of corruption laws and to mislead investigators.
David A. Smith, who worked for Halliburton’s Kellogg, Brown & Root unit, said he received e-mails from a company attorney on how to handle federal investigations, but those notes were intended for David R. Smith, a vice president with Halliburton’s tax group.
The e-mails, he said, focused on how the Houston oil field services conglomerate would defend itself against a federal review of bribery and corruption charges connected to Halliburton’s natural gas operations in Nigeria.
David A. Smith, who says he owns a single share of company’s common stock, filed a statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission Thursday, saying David R. Smith “was being asked to weigh in on how to explain away the source of the bribes paid to Nigerian officials.”
In the e-mail, “the attorneys (both in-house and external) were weighing in on how to mount a legal defense, and how to keep the DOJ and SEC thrown off the scent,” he wrote.
The company has disclosed in prior regulatory filings that it is cooperating with the SEC and the Justice Department in their review of possible violations to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
David A. Smith declined to provide The Associated Press with copies of the e-mails or name the attorney who sent the note, saying he was concerned about interfering with the Justice Department’s investigation.
“It’s safe to say, it would be unwise for (Halliburton) to paint me or portray me as a liar,” Smith said Friday. “I’m telling the truth; this really did happen. I’ve got my ducks in a row to back me up.”
Halliburton spokeswoman Cathy Mann said in an e-mail statement that Smith’s allegations are “completely without merit.”
David A. Smith said he received the e-mails when he worked for Halliburton in Virginia as a contracted employee for nearly two years through August 2003, when his contract was not renewed. He said he worked in the company’s government proposals group, which oversaw federal, state and local requests for proposals.
Smith told The AP he received the e-mails in the fall and winter of 2002 and talked with the Department of Justice about them in 2004.
He said he was going public with the matter now because he believes he made a mistake in not going public with it in 2004.
Smith, 34, who works as an independent consultant, currently is helping to write a textbook on corporate governance.
Halliburton’s Mann said the company does not allow unethical business practices and provides a toll free hot line for employees to report concerns.
“If he was so concerned about this information, we question why he did not raise the issue by means made available to him in the Code of Conduct information,” Mann wrote in an e-mail.
Halliburton, whose chief executive was Vice President Dick Cheney from 1995 to 2000, has been criticized since the beginning of the war in Iraq for multibillion-dollar government contracts.
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