has emerged in the United States that Vice-President Dick Cheney took part in
a promotional video for the disgraced accounting firm Andersen.
The news comes as an anti-corruption pressure group prepares to sue Mr Cheney for alleged fraudulent accounting practices.
In the video Mr Cheney - then Chief Executive of the oil company Halliburton - describes how Andersen gave advice "over and above" what would normally be expected from auditors.
Last month, the firm was convicted of obstructing justice by shredding documents relating to the failed US energy giant Enron.
The developments came hours after President George W Bush tried to distance himself from corporate fraud, proposing tougher penalties as a way of restoring confidence in the wake of recent business scandals that have shaken the US.
The Andersen video, obtained by the Wall St Journal newspaper, is a further
embarrassment for President Bush's administration.
Correspondents say its business connections are fast becoming a serious liability.
The video was recorded in 1996.
"I get good advice, if you will, from their people based upon how we're doing
business and how we're operating over and above the just sort of normal by-the-book
auditing arrangement," Mr Cheney says in a short section of the video.
Andersen's reputation has been destroyed in recent weeks after it emerged
that it had destroyed documents for one of its clients, Enron.
Enron has admitted to grossly exaggerating its profits to attract investors.
In a separate development, pressure group Judicial Watch, says Mr Cheney deceived
investors while he was a director of the oil company Halliburton in the 1990s.
In a case being filed in
Dallas, Texas, Mr Cheney is alleged to have engaged in practices which led
to the overvaluation of the company's shares.
Judicial Watch says Mr Cheney deceived investors while he was a director of
the oil company Halliburton in the 1990s.
It is also suing for access to records of Mr Cheney's energy task force that
drew up the Bush administration's energy policy last year.
"To look the other way for the vice-president would be to set a precedent
that the Washington elite are above the law," said Larry Klayman, chairman at
But Halliburton spokeswoman Wendy Hall said, "We don't believe the case has
Details of the lawsuit are likely to emerge during a news conference in Miami
In a speech in New York's financial district on Tuesday, President Bush said
he wanted to tighten measures against corporate fraud.
He announced a doubling - to 10 years - of the maximum prison sentence, and
the formation of a special investigative task force.
But Judicial Watch said that Mr Bush's rush to crack down on corporate fraud
seemed intended to deflect attention away from his and Mr Cheney's own business
Mr Bush has already faced questions about his work as a director of Texas-based
Harken Energy Corp a decade ago, when the firm faced an inquiry for masking huge
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