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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The massive industrial conglomerate Halliburton has reportedly offered to pay $250 million to settle charges against its former chief executive, ex-Vice President Dick Cheney, in a multi-million dollar bribery case.

Nigeria filed charges against Cheney last week in an investigation of alleged bribery estimated at $180 million. Prosecutors named both Halliburton and KBR in the charges, as well as three European oil and engineering companies -- Technip SA, EniSpa, and Saipem Construction. Eleven Halliburton officials were arrested last month and freed on bail Nov. 29.

The charges allege that engineering contractor KBR, until 2007 a subsidiary of Halliburton, was among companies that paid bribes to secure a $6 billion contract for a natural gas plant. KBR pleaded guilty to the same bribes in a US court in 2009, and agreed to pay a $382 million fine. The Nigerian charges appear to stem from the US case -- though, in that trial, Cheney was never directly charged.

The $250 million figure would include a direct $130 million fine by the company and an agreement to repatriate another $120 million from Switzerland.

"They have made offers of fines to be paid in penalties. They offered to pay $120 million in addition to the repatriation of $130 million trapped in Switzerland," Babafemi said.

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