An anti-corruption unit in Nigeria has charged former Vice President Dick Cheney in an alleged bribery scheme dating back to his days as CEO of Halliburton, the huge oil services company.
Halliburton and other firms are accused of paying as much as $180 million in bribes to win a contract to build a $6 billion liquefied natural gas plant
in the African country's southern delta, the Associated Press
reported Tuesday. Cheney, who headed Halliburton before he was elected vice president in 2000, is one of several company officers and former officials named in the case, which comes about four months before national elections in Nigeria.
Cheney's lawyer, Terrence O'Donnell, denied the allegations, saying in earlier investigations the Justice Department and SEC, "found no suggestion of any impropriety by Dick Cheney in his role of CEO of Halliburton... Any suggestion of misconduct on his part, made now, years later, is entirely baseless."
Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission pointed specifically at a former Halliburton subsidiary, Houston-based KBR, which pleaded guilty last year in U.S. federal court to authorizing and paying bribes in Nigeria for plant contracts between 1995 and 2004.
Cheney, 69, and suffering from chronic heart disease, is unlikely to travel to Nigeria anytime soon, and officials in Lagos would have a hard time compelling his appearance. A major oil supplier to the United States, Nigeria itself is regarded by analysts and watchdog groups as having one of the world's most corrupt governments, the AP said.