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Halliburton, KBR Pay $579 Million for Bribery

HOUSTON (CN) - Halliburton and KBR/Kellogg Brown & Root will pay $579 million to settle criminal and civil charges of bribing Nigerian officials for a decade to get $6 billion in construction contracts. Halliburton even formed a "cultural committee" to figure out whom to bribe, how, and with how much, the SEC said.

Halliburton and KBR will pay $402 million to settle criminal charges, and $177 million to settle the SEC's civil charges. Halliburton and KBR do not admit they did anything wrong, but they promise not to do it again.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney was CEO of Halliburton from 1995 to 2000. The SEC complaint claims that Halliburton, in a joint venture, decided "as early as 1994" that they had to bribe Nigerian officials to get contracts. The joint venture paid more than $180 million in bribes to get $6 billion in contracts, according to the SEC.

"Halliburton, the parent company of the KBR predecessor entities from 1998 to 2006, failed to detect or prevent the bribery, and ... Halliburton records were falsified as a result of the bribery scheme," the SEC said in announcing the settlement.

The Justice Department settled for $402 million after charging Kellogg Brown & Root with one count of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and four counts of bribery.

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