Transocean Ltd., an international offshore drilling contractor, has announced that the District Court in Oslo, Norway yesterday ruled in a criminal case relating to criminal charges issued by Norwegian authorities against three of the Company’s subsidiaries for Norwegian tax returns filed for the years 1999 through 2002.
In June 2011, Norwegian authorities issued criminal charges against two of the Company’s subsidiaries alleging misleading or incomplete disclosures in, as well as inaccuracies in, Norwegian statutory financial statements for the years ended December 31, 1996 through 2001. Another subsidiary was charged at a later stage. In addition to the criminal charges, the Norwegian authorities asserted financial claims of NOK 1.8 billion, equivalent to approximately $302 million, jointly and severally, against one of the Company’s subsidiaries, two external tax attorneys and an external tax advisor, plus criminal fines and interest.
The District Court yesterday acquitted all defendants of all charges. The Prosecution Authorities have 14 days from receipt of the ruling to appeal the same.
Separately, on June 26, 2014, the District Court in Oslo, Norway issued its ruling in a civil dispute over a related tax assessment of NOK 412 million, equivalent to $68 million U.S. dollars, levied against an affiliate of the Company. While waiving all interest and penalties, the Court concluded that the Transocean affiliate owes the associated tax assessments.
“The Company is currently evaluating these decisions and will take action, as necessary, to continue to support its position that its Norwegian tax returns are materially correct as filed,” the drilling contractor said in a statement.