Friday, June 11, 2004 · Last updated 8:25 a.m. PT
SEC probes Nigeria bribery accusations
By KRISTEN HAYS AP BUSINESS WRITER
HOUSTON -- The Securities and Exchange Commission is formally investigating allegations that a Halliburton Co. subsidiary was involved in paying $180 million in bribes to get a natural gas project contract in Nigeria. Vice President Dick Cheney was head of the oil services conglomerate at the time.
Halliburton on Friday announced that the SEC has started a formal probe. The SEC's informal investigation of the contract was disclosed in February.
The SEC isn't alone in examining the contract, in which Halliburton subsidiary KBR, formerly known as Kellogg, Brown & Root, is a 25 percent owner. Nigeria in February ordered an investigation, and a French magistrate has been probing the payments for months. The Justice Department is reviewing documents voluntarily provided by Halliburton.
The company also has been under fire for allegedly overcharging the government on contracts related to the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Halliburton says the company is a political target and denies wrongdoing.