Halliburton admits it 'may have' criminally rigged bids on contracts
2 March 2005
WASHINGTON, March 2 (HalliburtonWatch.org) -- The U.S. Justice Department has opened a criminal inquiry into possible bid-rigging on foreign contracts by Halliburton, the company revealed Tuesday. ###
In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the company said "information has been uncovered" that former employees of KBR "may have engaged in coordinated bidding with one or more competitors on certain foreign construction projects and that such coordination possibly began as early as the mid-1980s...."
"Coordinating" with competitors to secure contracts with foreign governments is anticompetitive and a violation of U.S. antitrust law. The practice, known as "bid rigging," is punishable by criminal fines and denial of future contracts with the U.S. government.
KBR became a subidiary of Halliburton in 1998 when former chief executive and current U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney orchestrated the merger with Dresser Industries.
The SEC filing also revealed that the Justice Department is investigating "whether former employees may have received payments in connection with bidding practices on some foreign projects." In other words, authorities are investigating whether KBR paid bribes to foreign governments for the purpose of rigging the contracting process and whether KBR employees received kickbacks. The filing did not indicate which foreign governments are involved. The company has already admitted that it "may" have bribed the government of Nigeria during the period when Vice President Cheney was chief executive. The Justice Department, France and Nigeria have been investigating the matter for over a year.
The SEC filing said the bid rigging allegations could lead to criminal prosecutions by foreign governments.
Reuters: Halliburton Says Justice Dept Probes Foreign Bids
AP: Halliburton, Justice expand bribery probes