Cheney colleague admits bribery in Halliburton oil deals

A former colleague of the US Vice-President, Dick Cheney, has pleaded guilty to funnelling millions of dollars in bribes to win lucrative contracts in Nigeria for Halliburton, during the period in the Nineties when Mr Cheney ran the giant oil and gas services company.

Albert Stanley, who was appointed by Mr Cheney as chief executive of Halliburton's subsidiary KBR, admitted using a north London lawyer to channel payments to Nigerian officials as part of a bribery scheme that landed some $6bn of work in the country over a decade.

The guilty plea, announced yesterday, came after a four-year investigation by US attorneys and threatens to stir up old controversies just as eyes are trained on the Republican party convention. Mr Cheney, who pulled out of an address to the convention because of Hurricane Gustav earlier this week, led Halliburton from 1995 until returning to government in 2000. He had previously been Defence Secretary under the first President George Bush, and the links with Halliburton have been a constant thorn in the side of the current administration as the company has gone on to win billions of dollars of contracts in Iraq and other US military spheres.

The corruption scandal which exploded back into life yesterday centres on more than $180m channelled into Nigeria via intermediaries between 1994 – before Mr Stanley's employer was acquired by Halliburton – and 2004. Prosecutors allege that the payments were vital to a KBR-led consortium securing a succession of construction projects related to a liquefied natural gas plant at Bonny Island, on the Atlantic coast of Nigeria.

KBR suspended Stanley in 2004 after $5m was found in his Swiss bank account.

The investigation – which began in 2004 and has involved investigators in Nigeria, Switzerland, France and the UK, as well as the US – has turned up handwritten notes by a former KBR executive that bribes may have reached the former Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha, whose regime was accused of human rights abuses.

Bringing its legal action yesterday, the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission – America's corporate watchdog – said Stanley and others met high-ranking Nigerian government officials and their representatives on at least four occasions to arrange the bribe payments. To conceal the illicit payments, Stanley and others approved entering into sham contracts with two "agents" to funnel money to the Nigerian officials.

Investigations by French officials several years ago revealed that one of the agents was Jeffrey Tesler, a small-time solicitor based on a run-down high street in Tottenham, north London. Mr Tesler has long-standing ties in Nigeria, and worked as consultant to KBR's Nigerian joint venture. Mr Tesler was identified in yesterday's legal actions only as "the UK agent", and has not been charged with any crime. Attempts to contact Mr Tesler last night were unsuccessful.

Stanley admitted one count under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act – which outlaws bribery by executives and companies operating in the US, regardless of where in the world the corruption is taking place – and a further count of fraud. He faces 10 years in jail, and has agreed to pay $10.8m in restitution. He has also agreed to co-operate with the authorities as they continue their investigation into the bribery scandal.

Mr Cheney appointed Stanley to run KBR in 1999, when the subsidiary was created after Halliburton's acquisition of UK-controlled MW Kellogg, where Stanley had been an executive. There is no suggestion that Mr Cheney knew at the time of the acquisition, or subsequently, that bribery was involved in the Nigerian contracts.

"The Department of Justice is committed to aggressively enforcing the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act," said acting assistant Attorney General Matthew Friedrich.

VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
Strange 'quack' noises could be undersea chatter of Minke whales
science
Voices
voices Furore is yet another example of shameful Westminster evasion, says Nigel Farage
News
weird news... and film it, obviously
News
peopleThis time as he’s awarded the Freedom of Stirling and handed an honorary degree
Arts & Entertainment
tv
Sport
sport
News
Matthew Mcnulty and Jessica Brown Findlay in 'Jamaica Inn'
mediaHundreds complain over dialogue levels in period drama
Voices
voicesMoyes' tragedy is one the Deputy PM understands all too well, says Matthew Norman
News
peopleJay Z and Beyoncé to buy £5.5m London townhouse
Voices
voicesMoyes' tragedy is one the Deputy PM understands all too well, says Matthew Norman
Arts & Entertainment
Rocker of ages: Chuck Berry
musicWhy do musicians play into old age?
News
Jilly's jewels: gardener Alan Titchmarsh
peopleCountry Life magazine's list of 'gallant' public figures throws light on what it means to be a gentleman in the modern world
Sport
John Terry goes down injured in the 70th minute
sportAtletico Madrid 0 Chelsea 0: Blues can finish the job at Stamford Bridge, but injuries to Terry and Cech are a concern for Mourinho
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Cover Supervisor Needed Nottingham/Derbyshire

£3360 - £16800 per annum: Randstad Education Nottingham: Cover Supervisor requ...

English Teacher

£6720 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Nottingham: Urgently Required. En...

Supply teachers needed in Cambridgeshire

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Randstad are looking ...

Geography Teacher

£6720 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Nottingham: We are currently recr...

Day In a Page

Brits who migrate to Costa del Sol more unhappy than those who stay at home

It's not always fun in the sun: Moving abroad does not guarantee happiness

Brits who migrate to Costa del Sol more unhappy than those who stay at home
Migrants in Britain a decade on: They came, they worked, they stayed in Lincolnshire

Migrants in Britain a decade on

They came, they worked, they stayed in Lincolnshire
Chris Addison on swapping politics for pillow talk

Chris Addison on swapping politics for pillow talk

The 'Thick of It' favourite thinks the romcom is an 'awful genre'. So why is he happy with a starring role in Sky Living's new Lake District-set series 'Trying Again'?
Why musicians play into their old age

Why musicians play into their old age

Nick Hasted looks at how they are driven by a burning desire to keep on entertaining fans despite risking ridicule
How can you tell a gentleman?

How can you tell a gentleman?

A list of public figures with gallant attributes by Country Life magazine throws a fascinating light on what it means to be a gentleman in the modern world
Pet a porter: posh pet pampering

Pet a porter: posh pet pampering

The duo behind Asos and Achica have launched a new venture offering haute couture to help make furry companions fashionable
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: The mutiny that sent a ripple of fear through the Empire

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

The mutiny that sent a ripple of fear through the Empire
Hot stuff: 10 best kettles

Hot stuff: 10 best kettles

Celebrate St George’s Day with a nice cup of tea. Now you just need to get the water boiled
Sam Wallace: Why Giggs is perfect fit as Manchester United boss... in the longer term

Sam Wallace

Why Ryan Giggs is perfect fit as Manchester United boss... in the longer term
Renaud Lavillenie: The sky's the limit for this pole vaulter's ambitions

Renaud Lavillenie: The sky's the limit for this pole vaulter's ambitions

Having smashed Sergei Bubka's 21-year-old record, the French phenomenon tells Simon Turnbull he can go higher
Through the screen: British Pathé opens its archives

Through the screen

British Pathé opens its archives
The man behind the papier mâché mask

Frank Sidebottom

The man behind the papier mâché mask
Chris Marker: Mystic film-maker with a Midas touch

Mystic film-maker with a Midas touch

Chris Marker retrospective is a revelation
Boston runs again: Thousands take to the streets for marathon as city honours dead and injured of last year's bombing

Boston runs again

Thousands of runners take to the streets as city honours dead of last year
40 years of fostering and still holding the babies (and with no plans to retire)

40 years of fostering and holding the babies

In their seventies and still working as specialist foster parents