HOUSTON - Halliburton Co. said in a regulatory filing that the U.S. Justice Department is looking into whether former employees of the oil services company may have worked with competitors to rig bids for foreign construction projects.
In an annual 10-K filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday, Halliburton stated that information had been uncovered suggesting that former employees may have engaged in bid-rigging as early as the mid-1980s.
"On the basis of this information, we and the Department of Justice have broadened our investigations to determine the nature and extent of any improper bidding practices, whether such conduct violated United States antitrust laws, and whether former employees may have received payments in connection with bidding practices on some foreign projects," the filing stated.
That investigation focuses on A. Jack Stanley, the former chairman of Halliburton's engineering and construction arm Kellogg Brown & Root, as well as other former KBR employees, Halliburton said.
Stanley and other former employees have been interviewed by the Justice Department and the SEC as part of the investigation into whether the bid practices violated U.S. antitrust laws, although no charges had been filed, a person familiar with the investigation said.
Stanley's lawyer, Lee Kaplan, declined to comment.
Stanley came to Halliburton in 1998 with Halliburton's purchase of Dresser Industries.
Stanley has previously been linked to an investigation into a consortium of companies, which Halliburton helps to lead, that had been linked to payments as part of the construction and expansion of an energy project at Bonny Island in Nigeria.
Last year, Halliburton said an internal probe found information suggesting that members of the consortium considered bribing Nigerian functionaries to secure a contract for a liquefied natural gas project.
Violations of U.S. antitrust law could bring penalties of $10 million per count or more, the company said.
(Additional reporting by Nicole Maestri)
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