The Halliburton Company secretly changed its accounting practices when Vice President Dick Cheney was its chief executive, the Securities and Exchange Commission said Tuesday as it fined the company $7.5 million reports the New York Times. The commission said the accounting change enabled Halliburton, one of the nation’s largest energy services companies, to report annual earnings in 1998 that were 46 percent higher than they would have been had the change not been made.
The commission did not say that Cheney acted improperly, and the papers released by the commission did not detail the extent to which he was aware of the change or of the requirement to disclose it to investors. The SEC said Cheney had testified under oath and had “cooperated willingly and fully in the investigation conducted by the commission’s career staff.” A lawyer for Cheney, Terrence O’Donnell, said the vice president’s “conduct as C.E.O. of Halliburton was proper in all respects.” O’Donnell declined to say whether Cheney had been aware of the effect of the accounting change on the company’s profits.