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Businesses Government United States Politics

Halliburton Moving HQ To Dubai 555

Posted by kdawson
from the might-as-well dept.
theodp writes "Much-maligned defense contractor Halliburton is moving its corporate headquarters from Houston to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Dubai's friendly tax laws will add to Halliburton's bottom line. Last year the company earned $2.3B in profits. Sen. Patrick Leahy called the company's move 'corporate greed at its worst.' Halliburton, once headed by VP Dick Cheney, has been awarded contracts valued at an estimated $25.7B for its work in Iraq."
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Halliburton Moving HQ To Dubai

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  • by BWJones (18351) * on Monday March 12, 2007 @06:45PM (#18324881) Homepage Journal
    Honestly, given the companies past alleged illegal/unethical behavior, the first thing that came to my mind was.... "what is coming down the pipe that they are trying to avoid?" Specifically, by moving the corporate HQ out of the country, are they avoiding some potential legal action because of illegal or unethical corporate behavior? After all we do know about lots of no-bid contracts they were awarded, not to mention the overcharging of contracts and more. It should also be noted that Haliburton is trying to off-load KBR. But fundamentally, regardless of ones political bias, even if there is no forthcoming news of illegal activity, because this corporation has benefitted so much from contracts awarded by the US government, moving off shore to avoid paying US taxes is simply an additional insult.

    P.S. Remember when Cheney refused to sell his Haliburton stock when appointed VP? He also resisted placing it into a blind trust and if I remember correctly, continues to receive compensation from Haliburton. Also, the content of Cheney's energy task force demonstrated that companies (Haliburton included) had direct input into the official federal energy plan, effectively allowing corporations to dictate US policy.

    • by dreamchaser (49529) on Monday March 12, 2007 @06:53PM (#18325013) Homepage Journal
      I wish the reporting would be more accurate. They stated VERY clearly that they are remaining incorporated in the US and will still be paying US taxes and be subject to US law.

      Ninety percent of their business is in the Middle East and Asia. The move just makes business sense. The only ill effect will be a few hundred jobs in Houston lost; not a good thing for those people but all part of business.
      • Sure, being closer to the action does cut down on Fedex charges etc, but is this the thin end of the wedge?

        They will likely use the threat of moving off-shore as a way to get some breaks from Texas.

        • Re:For how long? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by dreamchaser (49529) on Monday March 12, 2007 @07:11PM (#18325287) Homepage Journal
          Try plane flights from Houston to Hong Kong, Dubai, Beijing, etc. The CEO wants to be closer to the action so he's moving the HQ. I'm sure the decision was a bit more complex than that, but that's the gist of it.

          This is such a non-story.
          • Re:For how long? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Stonehand (71085) on Monday March 12, 2007 @07:21PM (#18325399) Homepage
            It does make sense to minimize the time zone difference involved.

            For instance, if there has to be an urgent phone call between a CEO of an oil services company, and the head of a sovereign nation that retains both de facto and de jure control over resources that are increasingly difficult to find across the world, and somebody is going to be inconvenienced by the time -- I don't think it's going to be the emir who's getting woken up at 3AM to talk business unless it's really, really an emergency.
          • by daeg (828071)
            And it should be swiftly followed by a cancellation of major US contracts. I consider supporting US jobs as a major condition for gaining lucrative US contracts. The CEO having a shorter plane ride is of no concern to me, but the loss of tens of millions of dollars to a city economy is, and I don't even live in Texas.
            • Re:For how long? (Score:5, Insightful)

              by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Monday March 12, 2007 @07:38PM (#18325597) Journal
              The US tax base paid for the bombs that blew the hell out of the middle east, now they're paying billions of dollars to a big company to fix the middle east, and people are complaining that the taxes on the profits being made by the big company are going to the middle east instead of remaining in the US.

              Words fail me.
      • by Linux_ho (205887) on Monday March 12, 2007 @07:16PM (#18325337) Homepage
        I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact that the US has no extradition treaty with Dubai.
    • by boule75 (649166)
      Technology has brought instant money transfers without borders. This has brought many possibilities to crooks for moving, hiding, stealing money through swift with the complicity of the banks or the very big companies.

      And the laws have lagged behind: most Laws will not apply or not quickly enough to prevent this kind of thievery, a judge will take years to trace funds from one place to another (it will have left then) and there are much holes and fiscal paradises that are exploited to loot in a legal way.
  • by Scareduck (177470) on Monday March 12, 2007 @06:46PM (#18324891) Homepage Journal
    Per Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] (either as Dubai or as the United Arab Emirates).
  • Not only taxes (Score:5, Interesting)

    by HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) * <lajollahomeless@hotmail.com> on Monday March 12, 2007 @06:47PM (#18324907) Homepage Journal
    What of data retention laws? It's more difficult to audit their paper trails when their HQ is in Dubai than if it were in New York. Minimum wage laws for the average janitor are probably a little more exploitable.

    Heck, with all of the crap which has been going on lately, it may even be a security move: in that the execs may actually feel safer in Dubai from the revenge of the people they've ruthlessly swindled in the US.
    • by iPaul (559200)
      Interesting point. If their corporate e-mail goes through their headquarters, and their headquarters is in Dubai, then I would love to know what data retention standards they need to follow. It's a lot easier to commit fraud if you can burn the trail as you go, that's what Sarbanes Oxley is trying to stop in this country.
  • by tverbeek (457094) * on Monday March 12, 2007 @06:49PM (#18324947) Homepage
    Does anybody know whether Vice President Cheney has purchased a home in Dubai yet? Between this and the Dubai Ports World deal, the GWB administration seems to be trying to set up a cushy job there for someone.
    • Do we care where Cheney retires?

      As for Dubai buying up all sort of stuff. Dubai is swimming in cash from oil revenue. They knonw that the oil won't last forever. Massive investment in recreation facilities (as a tourism destination) and diversification in major international corporations with good cash flow is just plain smart business.

      I'll be lifting a glass of celebratory champagne when George the worst and his pack of Nixon era cronies leave office, but even I don't think there's really all that much to
      • by R3d M3rcury (871886) on Monday March 12, 2007 @07:16PM (#18325327) Journal

        Do we care where Cheney retires?
        He'll be retiring to an undisclosed location.
      • by tverbeek (457094) *
        It matters because the improbably cluster of "Dubai", "Halliburton", and "Cheney" in this situation suggests that there's more going on here than just business. This isn't Joe al-Blow in Dubai with too much money buying a U.S. business (which would be "just business"). This is a U.S. business partially owned (and directed through a proxy) by the Vice President, buying property and setting up shop in a foreign country where the White House has been involved in deal-making. We know this move ain't for the
        • by Overzeetop (214511) on Monday March 12, 2007 @09:41PM (#18326755) Journal
          I've got bad news for you. The folks running Washington don't have your (or my) best interests in mind when they make business decisions. For the record, that would include all 535 suits at the opposite end of the mall from the oval office.

          Thing is, there is essentially nothing you can do to stop them - you* voted them in. Twice. All you can do is vote them our next time - preferrably by a wide enough margin that there is no question as to who won.

          *The you I am referring to is the collective, American you, not you-singular. You may have voted for someone else, but clearly you didn't convince enough people to vote with you (maybe you should have a few more pen pals in battleground states?). I'm guilty, too. I didn't vote for him (else I'd be complaining about tomato and vinegar subsidies, I suppose), but I also didn't convince enough of my Virginia bretheren to vote against him. I will take credit for voting out Allen, though. And for keeping Boucher in office. Might as well take some credit as well as the blame. If it makes you feel better, my other half - who did vote for him - has finally come to her senses and realized that she made a horrible mistake. And if those nuts in Iowa don't all get drunk and vote for Hillary, she just might correct that mistake next time.
  • by iPaul (559200) on Monday March 12, 2007 @06:49PM (#18324949) Homepage
    This is from a company who's been dealing with Iran on a pipeline [msn.com] with a very thinly veiled subsidiary in the caribbean [washingtonpost.com]. Really, truth is more complicated and stranger than fiction.
  • Not a move (Score:4, Informative)

    by peipas (809350) on Monday March 12, 2007 @06:49PM (#18324951)
    NPR says [npr.org] they aren't moving their headquarters, just opening up another one. This of course calls into question the definition of "headquarters," but there seems to be conflicting information. The linked article's alarmism is from yesterday, for what it's worth.
  • Forgetting for a moment who they are, do you blame them? I mean, what makes anyone think that Halliburton's public image (currently considered to be somewhere between "locus of evil" and "The Fourth Reich" according to some) is going to suffer any further than it already has by moving offshore?

    /P

  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Monday March 12, 2007 @06:52PM (#18325005) Journal
    Now, I'm going to take a chance on this that the information on NPR today was accurate, namely:

    A second local "headquarters" will be set up in Dubai, and the CEO will reside there.
    The current "headquarters" will remain in Houston, TX.
    The Dubai office is to get closer to the action and get some PR separation from us dirty Americans

    The corporation will still be registered, and taxable, in the US. Changes to the laws make offshoring more difficult, including needing to have 10% of the Halliburton workforce located in Dubai in order to swith their corporate tax liabilities out of the US. Given the size of Halliburton, that's likely not going to happen.

    Finally, the major support contracts for the US military are held by a subsidiary of Halliburton which will be spun off as an independent US corporation next month.

    Now, one final disclaimer: this is all from memory based on a short bit on te radio. Feel free to fill in the blanks and correct the errors (be they in my memory or by the reporting staff at NPR).
  • Because there are a lot of DoD contracts that have to go to US companies free of any partially or wholly controlling foreign interest.

    Or does Halliburton just not do that kind of work?

    Anyone got any information?
    • by iPaul (559200)
      As another poster pointed out - they will spin off a US subsidiary to handle US contracts. So, in a sense, they are still a US company, even though they are a bunch of unpatriotic, soulless bastards.
  • "Tap into our extraordinary people, award-winning technologies, performance profiles, sustainability leadership and community involvement. Wherever you look, Halliburton has the energy you need!"

    *hmm* community involvement indeed!

  • When I read this I thought to myself "boy that's a good one", thinking that perhaps it was linked off to theonion or some other site, but abcnews is more or less reliable... I would however like to read the full quote, anyone?
  • by sentientbrendan (316150) on Monday March 12, 2007 @06:59PM (#18325113)
    what's more sensible than an *oil company* relocating to the *middle east*? Dubai isn't just some random village in the middle of nowhere, it's a major economic hub http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dubai [wikipedia.org]

    A lot of people have mentioned the Halliburton contracts in iraq, but Halliburton is spinning off it's military division anyway and is likely to be distanced from iraq. Aside from that, I don't think anyone at Halliburton takes the notion seriously that they will be sued when an ex-CEO is practically running the country... if they were ever afraid of that the abuses wouldn't have happened in the first place.

    Also, a bunch of people have mentioned criminal charges. A lot of the problems with Halliburton, Halliburton can't really be held responsible, since the problems originated in the fact that we negotiated such crappy contracts with them. If you're contract has holes in it, you're pretty fucked when it comes to trial.
    • by theodicey (662941)
      the problems originated in the fact that we negotiated such crappy contracts with them

      Yes, but why did Bush's government negotiate crappy contracts?

      Might just be typical Bush Administration heckuva job incompetence, might be a typical giveaway to Republican-supporting companies.

      Or, it could be corruption of procurement officials, as in the Boeing scandal [govexec.com].

      "'I can unequivocally state that the abuse related to contracts awarded to KBR [Halliburton] represents the most blatant and improper abuse I h
  • by nixkuroi (569546) on Monday March 12, 2007 @06:59PM (#18325127)
    Maybe we should consider rethinking their contracts as we did the Dubai port management deals. Companies that are based outside the US are clearly not as favorable in terms of our security - at least in the eyes of congress.
  • by RichPowers (998637) on Monday March 12, 2007 @07:00PM (#18325133)
    Listen, I'm not a fan of Halliburton screwing over the American taxpayers. I'm also against their huge no-bid contracts.

    But as Slate's "Explainer," well, explains, Halliburton "is still incorporated in Delaware and remains subject to U.S. law and taxes." The article goes on to say that Halliburton would have a hell of a time incorporating in Dubai, but moving its workforce overseas is not out of the question.

    After all, 55% of the company's business comes from the Eastern hemisphere. This move makes perfect sense, given their long-term business plans.

    PS: The company's defense component, KBR, is set to become its own company. Halliburton's new HQ should not affect KBR.

    http://www.slate.com/id/2161652/fr/rss/ [slate.com]
  • by mi (197448) <slashdot-2014@virtual-estates.net> on Monday March 12, 2007 @07:01PM (#18325159) Homepage

    They want the HQ to be closer to the majority of the fields they operate and to the bulk of their customers, which is Asia. Their main business is "oil services", mind you. And the biggest oil fields are around the Gulf...

    Not sure, why all this is /. material, though...

  • by aardvarkjoe (156801) on Monday March 12, 2007 @07:07PM (#18325227)

    And the reason why Slashdot is reporting on this is?...

    It's one thing to cover major political stories here, but this is silly.

  • oh yeah? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by deblau (68023) <slashdot.25.flickboy@spamgourmet.com> on Monday March 12, 2007 @07:09PM (#18325249) Journal
    In the interest of national security, no company based outside the US should be given any US defense contracts. Period. I bet the Democrats could get that passed as a law.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 12, 2007 @07:11PM (#18325277)

    Maybe I just hang out too much with the anti-war crowd but the only explanation that really makes sense to me for why Bush decided to invade Iraq is that Bush had friends in the oil industry that wanted access to Iraq's oil.

    Every other explanation for why Bush decided to invaded is inconsistent with other considerations.

    • The whole WMD thing never really made much sense. If Iraq actually had the capability to use WMD against the USA (e.g. destroy Manhattan) then it would have been colossally stupid to invade. The way WMD could have justified invasion was if Iraq didn't have WMD but was about to have WMD in a matter of months. The thing is, if the USA did have that level of detailed intelligence then the USA should have made the specific demand that Iraq stop that specific program.
    • If the Bush administration actually believed the whole "ideological war against radical Islam" thing - that corrupt dictatorships are the root of radical Islam that radical Islam is the root of terrorism against the USA, then the USA should have invaded Saudi Arabia rather than Iraq. Saudi Arabia is a brutal dictatorship closely tied to an extreme form of radical Islam. Saudi Arabia is where the 9/11 hijackers were from. Saudi Arabia is where Bin Laden was from.
    • If the goal was to get Bin Laden or to "fight them over there so we don't fight them over here" then why didn't the Bush administration focus on the existing war in Afghanistan? For that matter, if the goal was only to choose a battle ground that resulted in few civilian casualties then why not choose Antarctica?
    • If the Bush administration was so opposed to Saddam's record of human rights violations that they thought it justified a costly and uncertain war, then why is the Bush administration itself holding people without trial and torturing them? Along those lines, if it was just about a particular country having a bad government and needing intervention then why didn't the Bush administration invade Somalia? Or, if it's about genocide then why hasn't the USA invaded Sudan?
    • At some level, I think that it would be good for Iraq to have democracy but didn't the Bush administration realize that a democratic Iraq would be dominated by the Shia who are close allies of Iran? Did the Bush administration really think it was a good idea set up a regime in Iraq that was friendly to Iran at a time when Iran was pursuing nuclear weapons?
    • It is pretty clear that at some point the world will run out of oil. If the Bush administration really cared about oil depletion it would seem to be much more effective to spend money on alternative energy research. The hundreds of billions spent on the Iraq war would have bought a lot of energy research. Even if the USA did manage to be the country that consumed the last of the oil, the oil is going to run out even for the USA and then there will be a need for alternative energy sources.

    Obviously, the Bush administration has given a lot of justifications for invading Iraq. None of the justifications make sense when I actually think about them in detail. Some people claim that Bush is just really stupid but I have a hard time believing that that's the case. After all, Bush was smart enough to get himself elected to USA president twice.

    In the end, I have to conclude that Bush's decision to invade Iraq was really about Bush helping out his friends in the oil industry. What puzzles me is that so many people just accept Bush's other justifications - even congress. Do members of congress know Bush is lying but they don't think it's politically expedient to call Bush on it. What about the news media? Do they know Bush is lying but they figure it makes a better story to pretend he's not? What about the general public? Don't they recognize the inconsistencies?

    And don't even get me started on the general public's support for massive deficit spending...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by workindev (607574)

      The whole WMD thing never really made much sense. If Iraq actually had the capability to use WMD against the USA (e.g. destroy Manhattan) then it would have been colossally stupid to invade. The way WMD could have justified invasion was if Iraq didn't have WMD but was about to have WMD in a matter of months. The thing is, if the USA did have that level of detailed intelligence then the USA should have made the specific demand that Iraq stop that specific program.

      I guess you were not paying attention to the

  • My connection to Halliburton is going to Iraq. No more $100/hour for fixing their Excel/Word macros
  • by TheRealStyro (233246) on Monday March 12, 2007 @07:17PM (#18325341) Homepage
    The US government should offer the advice that this move is not a good idea. If they leave any and all remaining assets (and any profits) will be taxed 500% for 10 years and ALL contracts will be canceled as they will become a foreign corporation and cannot have contracts that may/do have implications for national security.

    To make things fair, these and more rules should be applied to any US company that leaves.

    On another note, what does this topic have to do with the usual technology issues on Slashdot?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by phantomlord (38815)
      Congress could cancel the contracts but they cannot single out a person/company and unfairly punish them (by extreme taxation in your case). Doing so would create a bill of attainder which is Unconstitutional as per Article 1, Section 9 of the Constitution.
  • by DavidinAla (639952) on Monday March 12, 2007 @07:41PM (#18325625)
    Why is it greed for a company to move its headquarters to a place that will take less money from them in taxes? If the company can still do everything it needs to do for its shareholders in the new location, it would irresponsible for it NOT to make the move. The company's purpose is to maximize value for its shareholders, not passively sit around and hope to send more money to the U.S. government.

    I know that a lot of people have accused Halliburton of wrongdoing on other issues, but this issue is completely unrelated to those charges. The previous charges seem to be a bit vague at times, and I don't have any opinion about them one way or the other, because I don't know the facts. But on the issue of saving money on taxes by moving an office, the company is completely justified in making the move. I would recommend any company do the same thing under similar circumstances.

    David

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