Halliburton's Dubai move draws flak

Democrats want a congressional review of the decision they say is motivated by greed.

    Leading Democrats such as Hillary Clinton,
    right, have demanded answers [EPA]

    "They get a lot of government contracts, is this going to affect the investigations that are going on?"

    Hillary Clinton,
    presidential candidate

    Clinton questioned if Halliburton had meant to "quit paying taxes in America" by deciding to relocate to Dubai.
     
    "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," she said.
     
    The company is being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the US justice department over allegations of improper business affairs in Iraq, Kuwait and Nigeria.
     
    Business decision
     
    Halliburton said it was relocating to Dubai for business reasons and would not retrench staff.
     
    Melissa Norcross, a company spokeswoman, also said Halliburton would remain incorporated in the US.
     
    "As such, we anticipate absolutely no tax benefits from this decision," she said.
     
    Dave Lesar, the chief executive, will move his office from Houston, Texas, to Dubai, but other top officers would remain situated in Houston, added Norcross.
     
    The company has more than 45,000 employees in 70 countries.
     
    Corporate greed
     

    "Are they trying to set up a corporate presence in Dubai so that they can avoid the restrictions that currently exist on doing business with prohibited countries like Iran?"

    Byron Dorgan, Democratic senator

    Leading Democrats say the move is to avoid taxes.
     
    Patrick Leahy, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called the move "an example of corporate greed at its worst".
     
    "At the same time that they'll be avoiding US taxes, I'm sure they won't stop insisting on taking their profits in cold hard US cash," Leahy said.
     
    Byron Dorgan, a Democratic senator, said he would seek a congressional review of Halliburton's announcement.
     
    "I want to know, is Halliburton trying to run away from bad publicity on their contracts?
     
    "Or are they trying to set up a corporate presence in Dubai so that they can avoid the restrictions that currently exist on doing business with prohibited countries like Iran?"
     
    But Halliburton has found a supporter in Bill White, the mayor of Houston.
     
    Frank Michel, a spokesman for White, said: "The mayor says he understands the nature of the decision.
     
    "He doesn't think it will negatively impact Houston or our status as an international energy centre."

    SOURCE: Agencies


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