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Senator calls on Treasury to investigate if Halliburton move to Dubai linked to Iran deals
Mike Sheehan
Published: Monday March 12, 2007
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A key U.S. senator is calling on the Treasury Department to ensure that a controversial Houston-based multinational corporation, Halliburton, is not benefiting financially from the move of its headquarters to the Middle East, according to a release advanced to RAW STORY.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) says in the release, "Halliburton has gone to extraordinary lengths in the past to do business with the terrorist government in Iran," citing recent Treasure investigations of the multinational's business dealings with Tehran. "The company's odd announcement this week certainly sets off alarm bells about its intention to do business with state sponsors of terrorism. When it comes to Halliburton we can't trust, and we need to verify."

The company announced its plan to relocate its headquarters to the United Arab Emirates on Sunday.

Halliburton chief David J. Lesar praised the move, as it would "help the company focus on the Middle East," calling it "the seat of our operations."

The 52-year-old Lesar, who took over the reins of Halliburton after former CEO Dick Cheney became U.S. vice president, said the move to Dubai, UAE was "the next step in a strategic plan announced in 2006 to focus on expanding Halliburton customer relations with national oil companies."

Elsewhere, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY), likely 2008 presidential candidate, also issued a statement in response to the Halliburton announcement.

"I think that raises a lot of serious issues we have to look at," said the former First Lady. "Does this mean they are going to quit paying taxes in America? They are going to take all the advantage of our country but not pay their fair share of taxes?"

She continued, "They get a lot of government contracts - is this going to affect the investigations that are going on? Because we have a lot of evidence of misuse of government contracts and how they have cheated the American soldier and cheated the American taxpayer. They have taken the money and not provided the services, so does this mean that we won't be able to pursue these investigations?"

The junior senator from New York warned, "I think we are going to be looking into that in Washington."

The Lautenberg release in full follows below.

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In response to the announcement that Halliburton's CEO is moving the company's headquarters to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) called on the Treasury Department to make sure Halliburton's move is not part of a larger effort to increase Halliburton's business with Iran by evading current U.S. sanctions laws prohibiting any U.S. company from doing business with terrorist states.

Under current U.S. terror sanctions law, U.S. companies are prohibited from doing business with certain terrorist nations. However, the law contains a loophole that allows foreign subsidiaries of U.S. companies to do business with terrorist states. Senator Lautenberg authored legislation in the last Congress that would have extended the reach of sanctions laws to the foreign subsidiaries of U.S. companies. The measure failed by one vote, but Lautenberg plans to reintroduce the legislation this year.

In recent years the U.S. Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) and the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Texas has investigated Halliburton's business with Iran through its foreign subsidiary, Halliburton Products & Services, Ltd (HPSL). These investigations have all focused on whether Halliburton has violated U.S. terror sanctions law by using HPSL as a front company to do business with Iran.

"Halliburton has gone to extraordinary lengths in the past to do business with the terrorist government in Iran," said Senator Lautenberg. "Given Halliburton's past dealings with Iran, the company's odd announcement this week certainly sets off alarm bells about its intention to do business with state sponsors of terrorism. When it comes to Halliburton we can't trust, and we need to verify."

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With wire services.

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story mistakenly described Sen. Hillary Clinton as "likely 2008 presidential nominee" and has since been corrected to "likely 2008 presidential candidate." RAW STORY regrets the error.