Nigeria's anti-corruption police said on Tuesday it may drop bribery charges against former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and oil services company Halliburton
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said it met with officials representing Cheney and Halliburton in London last week after filing 16-count charges at a federal high court in Abuja in a case dating back to the mid-1990s.
Halliburton, which has said the Nigerian charges have no legal basis, declined to comment. But EFCC spokesman Femi Babafemi said an offer had been made to pay fines totaling up to $250 million.
They have made offers of fines to be paid in penalties. They offered to pay $120 million in addition to the repatriation of $130 million trapped in Switzerland, Babafemi said.
It will need to be ratified by the government and we expect a decision by the end of the week, he said.
Houston-based engineering firm KBR
KBR and Halliburton reached a $579 million settlement in the United States. But Nigeria, France and Switzerland have conducted their own investigations into the case.
The EFCC last week charged Halliburton Chief Executive David Lesar, Cheney, and two other executives. It also filed charges against Halliburton as a company, which was headed by Cheney during the 1990s, and four associated businesses.
A lawyer for Cheney, who was U.S. vice president from 2001 to 2009, did not comment on whether a settlement was under discussion, but said the charges were baseless.
Halliburton split from KBR in 2007. It has said that its current operations in Nigeria -- raided by the EFCC last month -- were not involved in the Bonny project and that there is no legal basis for the charges.
Those charged in Nigeria include KBR Chief Executive Officer William Utt and former KBR CEO Albert Jack Stanley, who worked under Cheney when he headed Halliburton and pleaded guilty in 2008 to U.S. charges related to the case.
KBR said Utt had only joined the firm in February 2006 and that the rest of its executive team was appointed thereafter. It has accused Nigeria of wildly and wrongly asserting blame.
The TSKJ consortium which built the Bonny plant was also charged by the EFCC.
As well as KBR, the consortium included France's Technip SA
Shares of Halliburton were up 0.7 percent at $41.42 on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday afternoon.
(Additional reporting by Anna Driver in Houston and Alistair Bell in Washington, Editing by Nick Tattersall, Giles Elgood, Dave Zimmerman)