Halliburton spinoff prepares to admit bribery


The Associated Press
4:44 p.m. February 6, 2009

HOUSTON — A spinoff of Halliburton Co. is on the verge of pleading guilty to federal bribery charges.

Court papers filed in Houston on Friday show Kellogg, Brown & Root LLC is preparing to plead guilty to violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act for promising and paying tens of millions of dollars in bribes to officials in Nigeria in exchange for engineering and construction contracts between 1995 and 2004.

The government filed a criminal information in federal court, a document which is often used as part of a plea deal.

KBR, a major engineering and construction services company with operations around the world, was split off as a separate public company from Halliburton in 2007.

KBR spokeswoman Heather Browne said the company had no comment Friday and referred to KBR's quarterly SEC filing last October.

In that document, KBR said Halliburton "agreed to indemnify us for, among other things, liabilities unrelated to our business, for certain other agreed matters relating to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigations ... and for other litigation matters related to Halliburton's business."

In the filing, KBR said it was in settlement discussions with the Securities and Exchange Commission and/or the Justice Department and was providing documents sought by investigators.

The company is expected to appear in federal court next week as part of a plea deal.

Justice Department spokeswoman Angela Dodge in Houston referred inquiries about the case to department headquarters in Washington. A spokeswoman there who asked not to be named said the time and date of the court appearance was not immediately determined.

The papers charge that $95 million in corrupt payments were made to various international consultants to bribe government and political party officials in Nigeria.

The planned corporate plea follows a guilty plea last September by KBR's former CEO, Albert "Jack" Stanley. He headed the subsidiary within Halliburton, the oil field services conglomerate whose chief executive from 1995 to 2000 was Dick Cheney, the former vice president.

Stanley also pleaded guilty to a separate count of conspiring to defraud KBR and others, admitting to receiving $10.8 million in kickbacks from a consultant hired by the company at his behest.

Under his plea agreement, Stanley, 65, faces a sentence of seven years and payment of $10.8 million in restitution.