June 20, 2004

Cheney in Firing Line over Nigerian Bribery Claims

Drip, drip, drip...Plame, Chalabi, Abu Ghraib,
Halliburton...drip, drip, drip...

Antony Barnett and Martin Bright, Guardian: A British
lawyer is emerging as a key witness in a $180 million
bribery investigation that could lead to the
indictment of US vice president Dick Cheney.
Last week, US oil corporation Halliburton cut all ties
with a former senior executive, Albert Stanley, after
it emerged he had received as much as $5m in 'improper
personal benefits' as part of a $4bn gas project in
Nigeria. Halliburton also sacked a second
'consultant', William Chaudan in connection with the
bribery allegations. At the time of these alleged
payments, Cheney was chief executive of the
corporation.
French investigating magistrate Renaud van Ruymbeke is
examining a stream of payments surrounding the
controversial project which was built during the
regime of the late dictator Sani Abacha. The judge has
uncovered a $180m web of payments channeled through
offshore companies and bank accounts.

Cleanse the White House of the Chickenhawk Coup and
Its War-Profiteering Cronies, Show Up for Democracy in
2004: Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0620-01.htm

Published on Sunday, June 20, 2004 by the Observer/UK

Cheney in Firing Line over Nigerian Bribery Claims
by Antony Barnett and Martin Bright

A British lawyer is emerging as a key witness in a
$180 million bribery investigation that could lead to
the indictment of US vice president Dick Cheney.

Last week, US oil corporation Halliburton cut all ties
with a former senior executive, Albert Stanley, after
it emerged he had received as much as $5m in 'improper
personal benefits' as part of a $4bn gas project in
Nigeria. Halliburton also sacked a second
'consultant', William Chaudan in connection with the
bribery allegations. At the time of these alleged
payments, Cheney was chief executive of the
corporation.

French investigating magistrate Renaud van Ruymbeke is
examining a stream of payments surrounding the
controversial project which was built during the
regime of the late dictator Sani Abacha. The judge has
uncovered a $180m web of payments channeled through
offshore companies and bank accounts.

The Nigerian project to build a huge gas plant was
signed with an international consortium that included
Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root. Cheney
retired from the chief executive post in 2000.

The French judge is considering summoning Cheney to
give evidence in his probe to ascertain whether the US
vice president knew about the alleged commission
payments.

Van Ruymbeke has been investigating why the
consortium, which built the gas plant, paid up to
$180m to a Gibraltan company set up by British
solicitor Jeffrey Tesler, a partner in law firm Kaye
Tesler & Co, based in Tottenham, north London. Van
Ruymbeke wants to know whether the Gibraltar firm,
TriStar Investments, was used to distribute bribes to
win the contracts. Tesler has declined to answer media
questions about his role in the project.

The Nigerian deal to build a $4bn liquefied natural
gas plant is already subject to a formal investigation
by both the US department of justice and the
Securities and Exchange Commission.

Halliburton's decision to sever ties with Stanley and
Chaudan recognizes the firm's difficulty with the
corruption allegations. When the claims initially
arose in France the firm denied any improper
activities. A spokesman for Halliburton said the two
executives were dismissed because they had broken the
firm's 'code of business conduct'.

A statement added: 'While we do not know all of the
facts related to the issue we are taking these actions
in response to the facts that we do have and to
protect our investors, employees, customers and
vendors as several investigations proceed.'

The acknowledgement that Stanley was receiving
payments as part of the Nigeria deal brings the
allegations uncomfortably close to Cheney. Stanley was
chairman of Kellogg Brown & Root - one of
Halliburton's most important subsidiaries. The company
denied that Stanley - who retired as chairman in
December but remained a consultant - would have
reported directly to Cheney.

Neither Stanley, Chaudan or their lawyers have made
any comments on the allegations and the two US
directors do not currently face any legal action.

Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004


Posted by richard at June 20, 2004 11:22 AM