OEkokrim Clears Seadrill Limited from Any Wrongdoing in Eastern TRS Filing
Seadrill Limited's conclusion of several total return swap agreements with Carnegie ASA as counterpart and the shares of Eastern Drilling ASA as underlying securities in the spring of 2006, the Oslo Stock Exchange took the position that Seadrill had violated its obligations under applicable Norwegian law by not disclosing the conclusion and main terms of the agreements to the market.
Consequentially the OSE referred the matter to Kredittilsynet (the Norwegian Financial Supervisory Body) who, in turn, decided to report the alleged violation of the disclosure rules to OEkokrim (the Norwegian National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime) for investigation.
Seadrill's failure to disclose the TRS agreements was also included in the OSE's - and subsequently repeated in the OSE Appeals Committee's decision to consolidate the shareholdings of Seadrill and Carnegie in Eastern which, in turn, led to Seadrill being forced to increase the price offered in its mandatory bid for Eastern from NOK 92 to NOK 135.
Seadrill has strongly disagreed with the allegation that the non-disclosure of the TRS agreements represented a breach of applicable law. Further, Seadrill has filed suit against the OSE in order to invalidate the decision to consolidate Carnegie and its own shareholdings in Eastern in relation to its mandatory bid obligations.
OEkokrim has now informed Seadrill that they have finalized their investigation of the matter on the basis of the report from Kredittilsynet and that their conclusion is that no criminal offence has occurred.
The Oslo City Court will hear the case filed by Seadrill against the OSE in a hearing commencing October 15, 2007.
Mr. John Fredriksen, chairman of the board of Seadrill, comments as follows: "We are obviously encouraged by the conclusion of OEkokrim's investigation. This coincides with our own view of the legality of our actions in relation of the total return swap agreements. We remain convinced that the decisions taken by the OSE and its Appeals Board were wrong and look forward to presenting our arguments in support of this to the Oslo City Court later on this autumn."
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