UPDATE 1-Nigeria detains 12 in Halliburton bribery case

* Staff from Halliburton, Saipem and Technip detained

* Halliburton says action not legal, employees released

* Arrests related to $180 million bribery case

(Recasts, adding Halliburton comment)

LAGOS, Nov 27 (BestGrowthStock) – Nigeria’s anti-corruption police
have raided the offices of the U.S. oilfield services group
Halliburton (HAL.N: ) and arrested 12 people in a bribery case
involving the former Halliburton unit KBR Inc (KBR.N: ), a
spokesman said on Saturday.

The U.S. firm said the detentions, carried out on Thursday,
had no legal basis and that its employees had since been freed.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said it
had detained 10 Halliburton staff for questioning and one senior
employee each from oil services firms Saipem Contracting Nigeria
Ltd (SPMI.MI: ) and Technip Offshore Nigeria Ltd (TECF.PA: ).

Eni (ENI.MI: ), Saipem’s parent company, declined to comment.

“We are still looking for the (local) managing director of
Halliburton,” EFCC spokesman Femi Babafemi said.

Those detained in the raid, carried out with the assistance
of armed police, included Giuseppe Surace, believed to be
Saipem’s country manager, and Frank Pliya from Technip, as well
as a mixture of expatriates and Nigerians, Babafemi said.

Halliburton said in a statement that its employees were not
connected with the case, and that they had all subsequently been
released.

“Nigerian authorities entered the offices of Halliburton in
Lagos, ransacked the property, assaulted personnel and took a
number of non-managerial employees into custody … this action
had no legal basis,” its statement said.

Houston-based engineering firm KBR pleaded guilty last year
to U.S. charges that it paid $180 million in bribes between 1994
and 2004 to Nigerian officials to secure $6 billion in contracts
for the Bonny Island liquefied natural gas (LNG) project.

KBR and Halliburton reached a $579 million settlement in the
United States but Nigeria, France and Switzerland have conducted
their own investigations into the case. [ID:nN22234252]

KBR split from Halliburton in 2007.

“The Halliburton oil field services operations in Nigeria
have never in any way been any part of the LNG project, and none
of the Halliburton employees have ever had any connection to or
participation in that project,” Halliburton said.
A former aide to Nigerian ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo
pleaded not guilty in October to six counts of money laundering
in relation to the case between 2002-2003, including accepting
$1.5 million in bribes. [ID:nLDE69C23V]

His case was adjourned to Dec. 16.
(Reporting by Nick Tattersall and Anna Driver; editing by Kevin
Liffey)

UPDATE 1-Nigeria detains 12 in Halliburton bribery case