During Cheney's Tenure Halliburton Rehired Lawyer Who Managed Nigeria Bribery Scam
16 Sept. 2004
WASHINGTON, Sept. 16 (HalliburtonWatch.org) -- Halliburton hired a lawyer to funnel company bribes to the government of Nigeria while Vice President Dick Cheney was CEO, the Financial Times reported today, citing government documents.###
Investigators believe London-based lawyer Jeffrey Tesler was hired to deliver $180 million in bribes from Halliburton's partnership -- known as TSKJ -- to officials in the corruption-plagued Nigerian government. The purpose of the alleged bribes was to win a multibillion dollar contract from Nigeria to build a natural gas plant. Halliburton and its partners ultimately won that contract in 1995 and have subsequently won lucrative contracts to expand the plant.
The lawyer, Tesler, was originally hired in 1995 by M.W. Kellogg, which merged with Halliburton in 1998 to form Kellogg Brown and Root, which is today known as "KBR." In 1999, while Cheney was CEO, Halliburton re-hired the lawyer despite objections lodged by the company's partners in TSKJ. Halliburton has attempted to claim the bribery scheme was hatched prior to its merger with M.W. Kellogg, but the documents publicized today by the Times indicate the company may have been more involved than it wants to admit.
Since one of the companies in the Halliburton partnership is from France, a French judge has spent two years investigating the case. The U.S. Justice Department is conducting a criminal investigation of Halliburton as well.
The Times reported that Halliburton's partners in the Nigerian venture wanted to end their relationship with Tesler in 1999, but that Halliburton intervened to prevent his termination. It is still unclear whether Cheney personally intervened to protect Tesler and/or the bribery scheme. But a French judge investigating the matter has indicated his desire to subpoena Cheney for his testimony. To date, nobody has suggested that Cheney was aware of the bribery scandal despite his role as chief executive for Halliburton at the time. Nevertheless, the Dallas Morning News reported that French law allows for the prosecution of CEOs for bribes made by employees, even if the CEO had no knowledge of the bribes.
In its report, the Times said the newly disclosed evidence "raises questions over what Mr Cheney knew - or should have known - about one of the largest contracts awarded to a Halliburton
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