Cheney's old company admits to ripping off the Pentagon
By Nicole Colson | January 30, 2004 | Page 2
AT DICK Cheney's old corporate stomping grounds last week, they admitted that two executives had ripped off millions of dollars from the Pentagon. The oil services giant Halliburton announced that it had fired two employees at Kellogg, Brown & Root (KBR)--the Halliburton subsidiary that has made a bundle providing services for the U.S. military in Iraq--for taking kickbacks from a Kuwaiti company.
Halliburton says that it discovered the improper payments and immediately repaid the Army $6.3 million in "possible overcharges" by the Kuwaiti firm. "Halliburton internal auditors found the irregularity, which is a violation of our company's philosophy, policy and code of ethics," a Halliburton spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal. "We do not tolerate this kind of behavior by anyone at any level in any Halliburton company."
Really? It seems like business at usual. The kickback revelations are just the latest in a series of scandals for the politically connected company.
Halliburton certainly hasn't been shy about accepting sweetheart no-bid contracts from the Bush administration--where its former CEO is now White House puppet-master. So far, the company has racked up nearly $6 billion in U.S. military business in Iraq.
Halliburton is already under investigation for overcharging the Pentagon by as much as $61 million for fuel exported to Iraq. According to some reports, the Pentagon also suspects KBR of trying to deliberately delay cost estimates for the construction of dozens of facilities for the military--leading to suspicions that the company might later try to overcharge the Pentagon.
And though it's been largely ignored in the U.S. media, Cheney himself could face indictment by a French court on charges of bribery, money laundering and misuse of corporate assets--stemming from a deal that Halliburton and a French company made on behalf of Shell oil to build a $6 billion gas liquification plant in Nigeria in the mid-1990s.
Halliburton and the French company, Technip, paid more than $2 million in secret "retrocommissions" that at least one French judge believes were used to bribe Nigerian officials to get the refinery built.