Halliburton to Settle SEC Allegations Over Angola Payments

By Justina Vasquez Features Dow Jones Newswires

Halliburton Co. has agreed to pay more than $29.2 million to settle federal charges that it made illegal payments to an Angolan company as it worked to secure oil-field services contracts, the Securities and Exchange Commission said Thursday.

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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. Jeannot Lorenz, Halliburton's former vice president, also has agreed to pay a $75,000 fine for circumventing internal accounting controls and falsifying books and records, according to the SEC.

Mr. Lorenz's attorney didn't immediately return a call seeking comment.

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.

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In 2011, Halliburton said it was conducting an internal investigation 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.

In 2009, Halliburton agreed to pay $559 million to settle 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.

Write to Justina Vasquez at justina.vasquez@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 27, 2017 15:34 ET (19:34 GMT)