The giant oil and gas services company Halliburton once run by Vice President Richard Cheney is under grand jury investigation for suspected illegal dealings with Iran though a Cayman Island subsidiary, the firm disclosed on Monday. July 20, 2004 - In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, US giant oil and gas service company Halliburton announced on Monday that its Cayman Island oil services subsidiary, which has offices in Dubai, is being investigated for service contract with Iran, which may have violated US sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
“We have a Cayman Islands subsidiary with operations in Iran, and other European subsidiaries that manufacture goods destined for Iran and/or render services in Iran,” Halliburton Vice President Margaret Carriere acknowledged in the filing.
The company received a grand jury subpoena requesting documents related to the subsidiary’s operation, she said.
The investigation, which was initially launched by the Treasury Department in 2001, has now been handed over to the Justice Department, Halliburton has been notified.
US law bars US-incorporated entities, citizens and residents from engaging in commercial and financial transactions with Iran. But Carriere said there was no wrongdoing on the part of the firm.
“We completed a study in 2003 of our activities in Iran during 2002 and 2003 and concluded that these activities were in full compliance with applicable sanction regulations,” she said.
A loophole in the law apparently allows US firms to circumvent the sanctions through foreign-based subsidiaries, if their dealings are not directly managed by US citizens or from US soil, according to legal experts, Agence France Press said in a dispatch from Washington.
“This is the biggest scandal yet to hit Halliburton," Senator Frank Lauterberg said on Tuesday on a conference call organized by the campaign of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry.
“This could result in major felony charges, because it is illegal to do business with a terrorist state, particularly Iran, he added.
Halliburton, which has been probed for overcharging the US government for service contracts in Iraq was run by Vice President Richard Cheney, who was the company’s chairman since 1995 until his appointment by George Bush as his running mate in the 2000 US Presidential Election.