Halliburton settles accounts case
|3rd Aug 2004
|US oil services group Halliburton is to pay $7.5m (£4.2m) to settle charges that it failed to disclose a change in its accounting practices during 1998.
US Vice-President Dick Cheney, who ran Halliburton at the time, gave sworn testimony to the inquiry conducted by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The commission found that Halliburton used "materially misleading" statements about its income during the period.
The company neither admitted nor denied the findings in making its settlement.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) brought charges against the Houston-based oil services company, former chief financial officer Gary Morris and former financial controller Robert Muchmore.
Mr Cheney, who ran the company between 1995 and 2000, was not charged.
The SEC said Halliburton failed to disclose a 1998 change in accounting practices that caused its profit statement for that year and 1999 to be "misleading".
In one example, profits were inflated by 46.1% in the 1998 annual report, it said.
"Halliburton's penalty for the disclosure failure reflects lapses in the company's conduct during the course of the commission investigation, which commenced in mid-2002," the SEC said.
Halliburton and Mr Muchmore agreed to a settlement, with Mr Muchmore paying a penalty of $50,000 and the company $7.5m.
Mr Cheney "provided sworn testimony and co-operated willingly and fully in the investigation conducted by the commission's career staff," the SEC said.
Last year Halliburton, the US' second-largest oil services group, agreed to pay $6m to settle lawsuits over accounting practices involving cost overruns on construction projects.