The Nigerian government will charge former Vice President Dick Cheney in a massive bribery case involving $180 million in kickbacks paid to Nigerian lawmakers, who awarded a $6 billion natural gas pipeline contract to Halliburton subsidiary KBR when Cheney was running the company. Godwin Obla, prosecuting counsel at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, said indictments will be lodged in a Nigerian court “in the next three days,” and an arrest warrant for Cheney “will be issued and transmitted through Interpol.”
KBR already plead guilty in the U.S. last year in relation to the bribery scheme, and along with Halliburton agreed to pay a $579 million settlement. “This bribery scheme involved both senior foreign government officials and KBR corporate executives who took actions to insulate themselves from the reach of U.S. law enforcement,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Rita M. Glavin of the Criminal Division at the time. Cheney was indeed a “KBR corporate executive” at the time, but was not specifically charged. The case revolves largely around the actions of London lawyer Jeffrey Tesler, who maintained strong connections with the Nigerian government and was hired by Halliburton subsidiaries to funnel money to them in order to obtain lucrative contracts. Halliburton Watch explains the Cheney connection:
[In June 2004], Halliburton fires Albert Jack Stanley after investigators say he received $5 million in “improper” payments from Mr. Tesler…. Halliburton spokesperson, Wendy Hall, said that during the years he ran KBR, Mr. Stanley reported to David Lesar, Halliburton’s president and chief operating officer at the time and CEO today. Mr. Lesar reported to Mr. Cheney when Cheney was chief executive…. According to the Dallas Morning News, “Mr. Cheney ran Halliburton when one of four suspicious payments occurred.” […]
The Wall Street Journal reports on newly disclosed evidence by Halliburton, including notes written by M.W. Kellogg employees during the mid-1990s in which they discussed bribing Nigerian officials. The Financial Times of London said the evidence “raises questions over what Mr Cheney knew – or should have known – about one of the largest contracts awarded to a Halliburton subsidiary.”
A Cheney spokesperson told Reuters he had no comment, but would later today. It is important to note that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — of which Halliburton is a member — recently lobbied to weaken an important U.S. law that “stops American-based multinational firms from bribing foreign governments in order to win special business advantages,” as ThinkProgress detailed in October.