CONTROVERSIAL engineering conglomerate Halliburton says its staff may have paid bribes to Nigerian officials to secure a $4bn (£2.2bn) contract in the 1990s.
The admission in regular quarterly documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission is the latest blow for the group, which has been hit by similar charges over work in Iraq.
US Vice President Dick Cheney used to run Halliburton, and the company has battled allegations that it has benefited unfairly from its ties with the Bush administration.
Halliburton insisted there was no evidence bribes had been paid. 'Halliburton's ongoing investigation has still not found any evidence that supports there were any bribes paid,' a spokeswoman said.
Halliburton admitted in the filing that the Commission and the US Department of Justice were investigating the deal, which was to build a liquefied gas plant.
Jack Stanley, former chairman of Halliburton subsidiary, Kellogg Brown & Root, is at the centre of the investigations.
Halliburton, which dismissed Stanley as a consultant earlier this year, said the Justice Department was also investigating whether Stanley 'received payments in connection with bidding practices on certain foreign projects'.
The contract was won by a consortium comprising Kellogg, Technip of France, Italy's ENI and Japan Gasoline.