January 23, 2004

Gotta Spend Money To Make Money, Oui?

Who said those Nigerian email scams don't pay off? Somebody's cashing in. From Salon (may be a Premium link, just watch the ad):

"When British officials intercepted a Nigerian man with a briefcase stuffed with $200,000 at London's Heathrow airport, they thought they had stumbled upon a terrorist trail.

Instead, the cash-filled carry-on has led to the highest-profile corruption case yet in Nigeria, where bribery scandals have been reaching to the world's leading capitals, including Washington."
OK, OK, the money was actually headed into Nigeria, but let's not quibble over details.
"Three former Nigerian Cabinet ministers and two other former government officials are due in court Friday in Abuja, Nigeria's capital, on charges of accepting part of more than $1 million in bribes from France's electronics giant, SAGEM SA. The accusations stemmed from September's Heathrow arrest.

It's only one international Nigerian payoff probe: In Paris, a French judge has reportedly warned that Vice President Dick Cheney could be charged over allegations that his former company, Halliburton, paid $180 million in bribes to build a Nigerian gas plant. Halliburton has called the accusations untrue, and Cheney's spokesmen have refused to comment on the case.

. . .

Nigeria also is following the French probe into allegations that a consortium involving Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root paid about $180 million to win a contract to build the $4 billion-plus Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas plant in the mid-1990s.

Cheney was head of Halliburton for five of the seven years during which the secret payments were allegedly made.

French daily Le Figaro reported last month that Judge Renaud Van Ruymbeke had warned the Justice Ministry in a confidential memo that embezzlement charges ultimately could be filed against Cheney. But he added that it was too early to say whether this was likely, Le Figaro said."
There's at least one important fact missing here, because it sure looks like the French want to charge an American for something that happened in Nigeria. This is either sloppy journalism or unprecedented French arrogance. Maybe both. I'm going to keep an eye on this story.

Posted by Chris at January 23, 2004 08:12 AM

Category: Pimp-Slapping The French