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Halliburton says bribes may have been paid

/ Source: The Associated Press

Various investigations into an alleged $180 million bribery scandal in Nigeria involving a Halliburton Co. subsidiary and other companies have indicated that payments may have been made to Nigerian officials, the company said in a regulatory filing.

"We understand from the ongoing governmental and other investigations that payments may have been made to Nigerian officials," the Houston-based oil services conglomerate said in a quarterly filing Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Halliburton spokeswoman Wendy Hall said Monday that Halliburton has no concrete knowledge of such payments. "Halliburton's ongoing investigation has still not found any evidence that supports there were any bribes paid," she said.

The allegations center on a contract for a $4 billion Nigerian liquefied natural gas plant awarded in 1995 to TSKJ, a consortium of four partners — M.W. Kellogg Co., a subsidiary of Dresser Industries; Technip SA of France; ENI SpA of Italy; and Japan Gasoline Corp.

Halliburton acquired Dresser in 1998 — three years after Vice President Dick Cheney began his 1995-2000 tenure as Halliburton's CEO — and combined its Brown & Root subsidiary with M.W. Kellogg to form engineering and construction unit KBR.

The Justice Department, the Securities and Exchange Commission, a French magistrate and Nigerian officials are investigating whether the consortium paid $180 million in bribes to Nigerian officials from 1995 through 2002. The consortium got other contracts involving the Nigerian plant in 1999 and 2002.

In June Halliburton fired two consultants including former KBR chairman A. Jack Stanley, for violating the company's business code of conduct by receiving "improper personal benefits" related to TSKJ's construction of the Nigerian plant.