UPDATE: A response from Cheney's lawyer has been added to this piece below.
Nigerian authorities will charge former Vice President Dick Cheney over a bribery scandal that is alleged to involve Halliburton, BusinessWeek reports. An arrest warrant "will be issued and transmitted through Interpol," said Godwin Obla, the prosecuting counsel at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in Nigeria.
The charges center on an alleged $180 million bribery payment used to secure a $6 billion liquefied natural gas contract. Prosecutors are also looking into international companies Saipem and Technip. Cheney was the CEO of Halliburton from 1995 to 2000, before becoming George W. Bush's running mate. "As the CEO of Halliburton, he has the responsibility for acts that occurred during that period," Obla told the AFP.
Nigeria arrested 12 employees of Halliburton earlier in the week, reports Reuters. The firm's offices in Nigeria were raided by anti-corruption police, although the company said that the detentions "had no legal basis and that its employees had since been freed."
Nigeria's Guardian newspaper reported that charges against Cheney were confirmed by the government and included "criminal conspiracy."
Cheney's lawyer, Terrence O'Donnell, responded to the charges with the following statement:
This matter involves the activities of an international four-company joint venture (which included KBR, a subsidiary of Halliburton) well over a decade ago. The Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission investigated that joint venture extensively and found no suggestion of any impropriety by Dick Cheney in his role as CEO of Halliburton. Any suggestion of misconduct on his part, made now, years later, is entirely baseless.