Friday, November 11, 2005 -- Halliburton repays $8.6 million to pension holders

HOUSTON ? Oil field services company Halliburton Co. repaid $8.6 million to pension holders in 2003 and 2004 for failing to properly fund the plans and for a bookkeeping error, according to a letter from the Labor Department.
The Labor Department closed its investigation into the pension violations after the payments were made, according to a copy of the Oct. 6 letter obtained by Reuters Friday.

"Because you have taken the corrective actions ... the Department will take no further action," Roger Hilburn, regional director for the Labor Department said in the letter, which cited several potential legal violations by the company.

The Houston-based company said once the errors were discovered, it moved to cover the payments.

"Halliburton cooperated extensively with the Department of Labor to identify and successfully resolve, on a voluntary basis, issues involving certain retirement plans," the company said.

According to the letter, Halliburton failed to make proper payments on three occasions to the fund.

The company paid about $5.8 million in stock and cash in 2003 and 2004 to the fund from the sale of Prudential Insurance Co. stock that it wrongly kept, and also paid $2.6 million to reimburse its pension trusts for expenses.

An error in the company's payroll system in 2003 wrongly led to about 100 employees being charged a 10 percent early withdrawal penalty on their pensions by the Internal Revenue Service. The company reimbursed those employees the $191,000 they had been charged.

Feds say Halliburton mishandled pension funds - NYT - General Industrial Services - Industrial, Diversified - Industrial Products & Services - General

By MarketWatch
Last Update: 12:43 AM ET Nov. 11, 2005

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- An investigation of Halliburton Co.'s pension plan has found the company violated federal pension law, including charging some costs of Halliburton's executive pension and bonus plan to the workers' pension fund, according to a report published Friday.

According to the Times story, the Labor Department concluded that Halliburton's actions violated federal pension law prohibitions against self-dealing and using pension money for the benefit of the company, as well as the requirement to handle pension money with "care, skill, prudence and diligence."

The documents show Halliburton replenished funds that were improperly withdrawn from the pension fund, made the affected individuals whole and paid an undisclosed tax penalty, the Times reported.

Two of the violations began while Vice President Dick Cheney was the company's chief executive. The third, which the Times reported involved the largest amount of money, took place after Cheney resigned in 2000.

The report said Halliburton responded to an inquiry about the findings with a statement that said: "Halliburton cooperated extensively with the Department of Labor to identify and successfully resolve these issues on a voluntary basis. As the letter indicates, these issues have all been fully resolved."

Representatives for Halliburton could not be reached early Friday for comment on the report.

Shares of Halliburton fell $2.40 Thursday, or 4.11%, to $56.