Monday, May 16, 2005

Andrea Buffa and Pratap Chatterjee: Houston, We Still Have A Problem

Houston, We Still Have A Problem
An Alternative Annual Report on Halliburton
by Andrea Buffa and Pratap Chatterjee
Special report for CorpWatch

On May 18, Halliburton will hold its annual shareholders meeting in downtown Houston. Inside, CEO David Lesar will be congratulating himself on the astonishing $7.1 billion revenue the company has made off its recent work in Iraq. This number is double what the company made in the war-torn country the previous year; it boosts Halliburton's overall revenue some 25 percent, bringing it to over $20 billion for 2004.

Outside the meeting, the protesters are likely to outnumber the official participants. And, if it's anything like last year, hundreds of corporate accountability activists will spend the day chanting and marching outside the posh Four Seasons Hotel, demanding that Halliburton be investigated and held accountable for ripping off both US taxpayers and Iraqis alike.

This year, there is even more reason for concern.

* Halliburton is currently being investigated by the US Federal Bureau of
Investigations and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Additionally, the US Department of Justice is investigating Halliburton's work in Nigeria, Iran, Iraq, and the Balkans.

* Former Halliburton accountants filed a class action lawsuit in August 2004 alleging "systemic" accounting fraud from 1998 to 2001. They are among dozens of "whistleblowers" who've come forward to expose the company's troubling business practices.

*Allegations of overcharging in Iraq persist: Early in 2004, Halliburton returned $6.3 million to the U.S. military, admitting that two of the company's employees took kickbacks from a Kuwaiti company. The company still hasn't repaid the $212.3 million the Defense Contract Audit Agency says Halliburton overcharged for fuel transportation in Iraq, nor has it found the millions of dollars in government property it "lost" because of mismanagement there.

*Sixty Halliburton employees were killed in Iraq in 2004. This tragic number is compounded by allegations by victims' families that say Halliburton
misrepresented the true nature of their loved ones' duties and intentionally placed them in harm's way. These families are now suing Halliburton in both Texas and California.

Rest of the Essay

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