WASHINGTON - US oil service firm Halliburton has acknowledged that improper payments "may have been made" to Nigerian officials through a consortium of which it was a member.
In a document dated Friday and filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Halliburton said the US Justice Department had expanded its investigation into potential bribes through the TSKJ consortium, a matter also under review in France and Nigeria.
"We understand from the ongoing governmental and other investigations that payments may have been made to Nigerian officials," the company said in the SEC filing.
It noted that investigators were scrutinizing the role by British lawyer Jeffrey Tesler, who has been reported to have funneled as much as 132 million dollars from the consortium, and from Halliburton's former consultant A. Jack Stanley, fired in June.
"We understand that the Department of Justice has expanded its investigation to include whether Mr. Stanley may have received payments in connection with bidding practices on certain foreign projects," Halliburton said.
TSKJ is a private limited liability company registered in Portugal comprising Technip of France, Snamprogetti Netherlands, an affiliate of the Italian group ENI, JGC Corporation of Japan, and Kellogg Brown and Root, which was acquired by Halliburton in 1998.
The company is currently under investigation in the United States for allegedly contemplating bribing Nigerian officials to win a lucrative natural gas project some 10 years ago.
The alleged payments, many of which occurred when Halliburton was being run by Dick Cheney, now the US vice president, helped a consortium including the US group to win a 12 billion dollar contract to build a gas terminal.
Halliburton has denied that its top executives were involved in any wrongdoing.
© Copyright 2004 AFP