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Switzerland shuts down Halliburton bank accounts used for 'bribery'
3 Dec. 2004

WASHINGTON, Dec. 3 (HalliburtonWatch.org) -- The government of Switzerland shut down bank accounts allegedly used by Halliburton for bribing the Nigerian government, the Associated Press (AP) reported today. Investigators believe Halliburton's KBR subsidiary and three other firms paid $180 million in bribes over a number of years to win a multibillion dollar construction contract from the Nigerian government. Halliburton and the other firms ultimately won that contract in 1995, but deny paying bribes.

According to the AP, the accounts that were shut down by Switzerland contain funds worth $100 million. The AP reported that the accounts were shut down "after France asked Switzerland to grant judicial assistance for its investigation" of the bribery scandal. The French government has been investigating the bribery allegations since October 2003. The U.S. Department of Justice is conducting an investigation as well. The Nigerian government is considered one of the most corrupt governments in the world. It is difficult for companies to do business without paying bribes to government officials, critics say.

U.S. and French law forbid companies from bribing foreign officials. Under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act it is a crime for corporations to bribe foreigners to win government contracts.

Some of the bribes were allegedly paid during the period when U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney was chief executive of Halliburton. His involvement in the scandal is still unclear, but he could be subpoenaed for questioning by French investigators.

Although the AP concluded that Halliburton "hasn't found any evidence that supports claims of bribery," Halliburton did find evidence that bribes "may" have been paid to officials in the Nigerian government.

More Information:

HalliburtonWatch: Bribing Nigeria

Halliburton paid bribes during Cheney's reign, say investigators

Halliburton acting 'evasive' in bribery probe

Nigeria's government summons Halliburton CEO in bribe probe

Halliburton stonewalls Nigeria's bribery investigation

Halliburton admits it might have bribed Nigerian government

A Chronology of Key Events in the Unfolding Bribery Scandal