The case has been filed in Dallas, Texas – home state of his running mate and president George W Bush – by Judicial Watch, a watchdog group which specialises in cracking down on politicians involved in financial scandals.
The news came as it emerged that Cheney took part in a promotional video for disgraced accountants Andersen, former auditor of Enron and WorldCom.
The shareholders suit is against Cheney and other directors of Halliburton, as well as Halliburton itself, ‘for alleged fraudulent accounting practices which resulted in the overvaluation of the company’s shares, thereby deceiving investors and others’.
Cheney was chief executive of the oil company for five years from 1995 to 2000 and JW alleges the vice president engaged in practices that led to the company’s shares being overvalued.
Judicial Watch, which has at its motto ‘Because no one is above the law’, said: ‘Whether it is the Enron, Arthur Andersen, Global Crossing, or now the Halliburton and Harken (the energy company where George Bush sat on its audit committee) scandals, there is a dangerous intersection between politicians of all stripes, Democrat and Republican, attempting to feed at the trough of business greed.’
But Cheney denied any wrongdoing as did Halliburton. A spokesman for the company said: ‘We don’t believe the case has any merit.’
Accounting methods at Halliburton are currently being investigated by US chief watchdog the Securities & Exchange Commission. In a somewhat ironic twist of fate for Cheney, yesterday, the president gave the SEC a show of support and promised additional funding in his speech of corporate responsibility in America.
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