U.S. oil firm cuts deal ahead of bribery trial

Gavel-Scales-of-Justice-American-flag-square07 July 2014, Lagos – Two executives from the offshore drilling contractor, Noble Corp have agreed to settle civil claims that they participated in a bribery scheme to obtain permits for oil rigs in Nigeria, days before the case was set to go for trial.

Jury selection had been scheduled for today (July 7) in the United States Securities and Exchange Commission’s case against Mark Jackson, Noble’s former chief executive officer, and James Ruehlen, director of the oil and gas services company’s Nigerian subsidiary.

The two men were sued under the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), which bans US companies from bribing foreign officials.

A federal judge in Houston, Texas called off all trial deadlines on July 2 (Tuesday) pending a final settlement. The terms, which must be approved by a judge, were not disclosed in court papers.

The SEC sued Jackson and Ruehlen in 2012, two years after Noble agreed to pay $8 million to resolve related FCPA civil and criminal charges.

Noble in 2011 agreed to pay $2.5 million as part of a non-prosecution agreement with the Nigerian government.

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