x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Supervisor acquitted of extortion attempt

A former Halliburton employee accused of trying to extort Dh11,000 (US$3,000) from a contractor was acquitted yesterday.

DUBAI // A former Halliburton employee accused of trying to extort Dh11,000 (US$3,000) from a contractor was acquitted yesterday in the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance. The contractor, an environmental technology company, claimed the man threatened to nullify its multimillion-dollar deal with Halliburton unless he was paid the money.

AM, a 51-year-old Indian who worked at Halliburton for 27 years, said he was dismissed maliciously. The extortion charges were filed only after he sued the company for unfair dismissal, he said. As a logistical services supervisor at Halliburton, AM was in charge of overseeing contracts for the company. According to prosecution records, Halliburton was negotiating a contract through AM to have oil waste cleared from one of its projects.

On November 11, according to the sales director of the environmental company, AM asked the company to pay him Dh100 on every ton of oil waste that would be cleared. The sales director contacted him again and recorded the conversation, then contacted the legal department of Halliburton Worldwide in Dubai. Halliburton's former head of legal affairs, GJ, told the court the company investigated and AM was dismissed without a criminal complaint being lodged against him. "After we received instructions from our head office in the US, we told him if he left quietly we would not file any criminal action," GJ said.

When the court asked GJ why the company had waited so long to file the criminal complaint, he acknowledged it was filed as a counter-claim after AM sued the company for unfair dismissal. amustafa@thenational.ae