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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

SEC SETTLES ACTION AGAINST EXECUTIVES IN CONNECTION WITH ALLEGED BRIBERY OF CUSTOMS OFFICIALS

FROM:  U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION 
SEC Settles Pending Civil Action Against Noble Executives Mark A. Jackson and James J. Ruehlen

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced today that former Noble CEO Mark A. Jackson and former Director and Division Manager of Noble's Nigeria subsidiary James J. Ruehlen, who remains an executive at the company, have agreed to settle the SEC's pending civil actions against them. The case had been set for a jury trial before the Honorable Keith P. Ellison, United States District Judge, on July 9, 2014 in Houston, Texas. The Court entered a final judgment in the matter on July 3, 2014.

To settle the SEC's action against him, Jackson consented to the entry of a final judgment enjoining him from violating Section 13(b)(2)(A) of the Exchange Act as a control person pursuant to Section 20(a) of the Exchange Act. Ruehlen agreed to the entry of a final judgment enjoining him from aiding and abetting any violation of Section 13(b)(2)(A) of the Exchange Act.

The SEC filed its complaint in February 2012 and alleged that Jackson and Ruehlen authorized the payment of bribes to customs officials to process false paperwork purporting to show the export and re-import of oil rigs, when in fact the rigs never moved. The SEC alleged that the scheme was designed to save Noble Corporation from losing business and incurring significant costs associated with exporting rigs from Nigeria and then re-importing them under new permits. At the same time it filed its action against Jackson and Ruehlen, the SEC also filed settled charges against Thomas F. O'Rourke, who was a former controller and head of internal audit at Noble. The SEC alleged that O'Rourke helped approve the bribe payments and allowed the bribes to be booked improperly as legitimate operating expenses for the company.

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