Most Americans have never head of Jack Stanley and that’s understandable. But this man is well known in the oil industry. In the world of Big Oil, Albert “Jack” Stanley was legendary for winning billion-dollar contracts in Third World countries. He is the Halliburton executive who knew all the secrets of deals in places like Malaysia, Egypt and Yemen. Stanley has now admitted in a guilty plea that he had resorted to bribes, kickbacks and high-level corruption to secure deals in Nigeria. He is also at the center of a widening scandal in the oil industry that has implications for corporations and governments across the globe. The Stanley case may be the first of a string of indictments in coming months against U.S. corporate executives who have participated in bribing foreign officials in recent years. At least that’s what is coming from sources in the Justice Department.
By agreeing to cooperate with prosecutors, Stanley, who ran KBR when it was a subsidiary of Halliburton, promises to become a “hammer” for federal investigators seeking to crack open additional cases under a 30-year-old statute designed to halt overseas corporate corruption. I understand about 80 cases involving major corporations accused of overseas bribery were under investigation at the end of last year. From all accounts, it appears that bribing officials of foreign countries has become a way of life in the oil industry. In the Stanley case, the $182 million in bribes allegedly were paid not just by Halliburton but by its partners, an international consortium of engineering companies from France, Italy and Japan. Having had some experience with the politically powerful and influential oil industry on a domestic level, I am not surprised at anything involving an oil company anymore.
Some believe Stanley’s testimony may also pose concerns for Vice President Dick Cheney, who ran Halliburton between 1995 and 2000, when Stanley was appointed as KBR’s chief executive officer. However, Cheney has consistently denied any wrongdoing. Larry Veselka, Stanley’s lawyer, says his client will cooperate fully in any investigation. A judge will determine Stanley’s final sentence depending on his compliance with the plea agreement. That should cause great concern to anybody connected with Halliburton or KBR who did anything wrong. Veselka had this to say: “He’s going to cooperate with wherever they want to go and whatever they want him to do.” That may concern lots of prominent men in our nation’s Capitol.
The bribery scandal is one of many involving Halliburton’s KBR subsidiary in the past several years. KBR has repeatedly been criticized for overbilling the U.S. government for providing food, fuel and other services to U.S. soldiers in Iraq. Last year, Halliburton spun off KBR into a separate corporation. Earlier this year, Halliburton reported that the SEC was dramatically widening the scope of the investigation to cover projects built during the past 20 years in multiple countries. Those investigations may focus on Stanley’s activities in other countries. It appears from court documents that Stanley worked with another consultant, identified as a dual-national Lebanese and American citizen, in an elaborate kickback scheme. Under the scheme, Stanley hired the consultant to help Halliburton and its predecessor firms arrange deals to build liquefied-natural-gas projects not only in Nigeria but also in Egypt, Yemen and Malaysia. From 1991 to 2004, it’s reported that the consultant directed $10.8 million of the proceeds back to Stanley through a Swiss bank account. These deals involved Stanley’s original employer, M.W. Kellogg, as well as KBR. All of this will be watched very closely as events unfold.
Source: PBS News Report
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