US: Halliburton's Dubai Move Sparks US Political Ire

A weekend announcement by Halliburton, the US oil services giant, that it is shifting its corporate headquarters to Dubai from Texas triggered an angry response from some US lawmakers Monday.

Halliburton, which was once run by Vice President Dick Cheney, said Sunday it was relocating to the United Arab Emirates to capitalize on the region's booming energy market.

"It's an example of corporate greed at its worst," Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy, chairman of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a statement.

"This is an insult to the US soldiers and taxpayers who paid the tab for their no-bid contracts and endured their overcharges for all these years," he charged.

"At the same time they'll be avoiding US taxes, I'm sure they won't stop insisting on taking their profits in cold hard US cash."

Halliburton and its former KBR subsidiary, which it is spinning off, have weathered several contracting controversies and investigations since Halliburton was awarded a no-bid 2.4 billion dollar contract to supply the US military on the eve of the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

KBR agreed last year to pay the US government eight million dollars to settle fraud claims related to an Army supply contract.

Halliburton said it was relocating to Dubai on business grounds. The firm said that over 38 percent of its 13 billion dollar oil-field services revenue was generated from the eastern hemisphere.

It also said its move to the United Arab Emirates was the next step in a strategic plan unveiled in 2006 to boost its business with national oil companies in and around the Gulf region.

Karen Lightfoot, a spokeswoman for Democratic Congressman Henry Waxman, said the lawmaker might convene a hearing in the House of Representatives over Halliburton's announcement.

"This is a surprising development. I want to understand the ramifications for the US taxpayer and national security," Waxman, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said in a statement.

Halliburton's chief executive, Dave Lesar, will move his office from Houston, Texas to Dubai in a bid to oversee a ramped-up bid to gain more regional oil services contracts and other related business.

Weekend press reports said Halliburton still intended to keep its US legal registration, but a company spokesperson could not be reached to confirm this.

The global firm has operations in 70 countries and more than 45,000 employees.

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