Former Vice President Dick Cheney, who has been charged with bribery by Nigeria's anti-corruption agency, may avoid the charges if Halliburton instead pays a hefty fine, reports Reuters. Nigeria is considering a deal in which the energy company would pay $250 million in lieu of prosecution.
Femi Babafemi, a spokesman for the anti-corruption agency, said that the sum would include $130 million frozen in Switzerland, with the rest paid in fines, reports Reuters.
In order for the deal to move forward, it must be approved by Nigeria's government. Global Post reported earlier that both sides were considering a plea bargain, with estimates originally running as high as $500 million. Without the deal, Cheney and other executives could face "sentences of three years in a Nigerian prison if convicted of the charges in the 16-count indictment."
The charges stem from an alleged bribery case concerning up to $180 million paid in bribes to Nigerian officials. According to the AP, Halliburton allegedly paid the bribes to win $6 billion worth of contracts in the oil producing West African nation. Cheney was CEO of the company during the time of the alleged bribery.
KBR, a former subsidiary of Halliburton, resolved its own Nigerian bribery charges by paying a fine. The AP reports:
The Halliburton case involves its former subsidiary KBR, a major engineering and construction services firm based in Houston. In February 2009, KBR Inc. pleaded guilty in U.S. federal court to authorizing and paying bribes from 1995 to 2004 for the plant contracts in Nigeria.
KBR, which split from Halliburton in 2007, agreed to pay more than $400 million in fines in the plea deal.
Cheney's lawyer has said there is no reason for the charges. According to CNN:
Cheney's atttorney has said that there is no reason to suspect that his client is guilty.
"This matter involves the activities of an international four-company joint venture (which included KBR, then a subsidiary of Halliburton) well over a decade ago," Terrence O'Connell said.