DALLAS, June 11 - Halliburton's Nigerian joint venture is the focus of a formal Securities and Exchange Commission investigation over payments related to a liquefied natural gas facility in Nigeria, the company said Friday.
French police have alleged that Halliburton's subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root paid $180 million in bribes to land the project during Vice President Dick Cheney's tenure as head of the Houston-based parent company.
The payments being probed by the SEC are connected to the construction of the facility by TSJK, a private limited liability company in Madeira, Portugal. Its members are KBR, the engineering and construction arm of Halliburton, as well as France's Technip, a Dutch-based affiliate of Italy's ENI and JGC Corp. of Japan. Each owns 25 percent.
"While Halliburton does not believe that it has violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, Halliburton's own internal investigation of these matters is ongoing and there can be no assurance that government authorities would not conclude otherwise," Halliburton said in a press release.
It has already been reported that a French magistrate is reviewing the matter, Halliburton noted.
"Representatives of Halliburton have recently met with the French magistrate to express their willingness to cooperate with the investigation," the company said.
TSKJ is building the facility for Nigeria LNG Ltd.
Halliburton's shares ended Thursday's trading at $29.19, up 24 cents.