Halliburton pays $29.5 million to settle Angolan bribery probes

Halliburton has agreed to pay a fine of $29.2 million to settle federal charges that it bribed an Angolan company to obtain oil field service contracts. This is the second settlement  in eight years Halliburton  paid up to settle a federal probe into deals with corrupt African nations. In 2009, Halliburton paid $559 million to end charges that one of its former units bribed Nigerian officials during construction of a gas plant in the late 1990s through the mid-2000s. At the time, it was the largest settlement a U.S. company paid to settle a federal bribery investigation. In both settlements, the company got off without admitting or denying wrongdoing. Halliburton said in a statement that it didn’t admit or deny the government’s findings. The company also said the Justice Department has ended its investigation into the matter and isn’t bringing charges.

The probes concerned contracts reached in 2008 with Angola’s state-oil company Sonangol. The SEC said Halliburton obtained $14 million in profit from the deals. The company agreed to retain an independent compliance consultant for 18 months to oversee anticorruption policies in Africa. The SEC said officials from Sonangol required the Houston company to work with a local Angolan business to satisfy local content rules for foreign firms. The SEC said Mr. Lorenz worked to retain a firm owned by a former Halliburton employee who was a friend of a Sonangol official, and said Mr. Lorenz didn’t conduct competitive bidding for some contracts.

In 2011, Halliburton said it was engaging its own investation  of potential violations of U.S. anticorruption laws in Angola. At the time, the company said it had received an anonymous email in December 2010 accusing some of its current and former personnel of breaking the rules set by the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

“Over the intervening years, Halliburton also continuously enhanced its global ethics and compliance program,” the company said Thursday.

Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers.