Oslo, 25 October 2013 -- DNO International ASA ("DNO International"), the Norwegian oil and gas company, announced today that it has reached an out of court settlement with ØKOKRIM and accepted a reduced fine of NOK 20 million for alleged failures five years ago to comply with the Securities Trading Act.
ØKOKRIM (the Norwegian National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime) had charged the Company with lack of disclosure to the market in respect to its sale of 43,873,960 treasury shares in October 2008. A similar charge was reviewed and dismissed by the Stock Exchange Appeals Committee in 2009, although the Company was fined NOK 800,000 for failure to provide required information to the administration of the Oslo Stock Exchange.
DNO International held thatØKOKRIM's decision to reopen a previously settled case with the Oslo Stock Exchange and attempt to impose its own fine was in violation of fundamental legal protections against double jeopardy. In addition, the Company disputed the allegation that it had engaged in market manipulation.
"While DNO International has refuted the most serious of the charges, this investigation, in which we have cooperated with the authorities, has been underway in some form for nearly five years and could drag on for years under Norwegian statutes," said Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani, DNO International's Executive Chairman. "Given these circumstances, we agreed to pay a reduced fine, without admitting any liability, to bring an end to a protracted and costly distraction involving matters that predate the current executive management and board of directors of DNO International," he added.
Mr. Mossavar-Rahmani said he is pleased a resolution has been reached with ØKOKRIM and that the Company can get back to work delivering on its growth strategy.
With this resolution, DNO International brings closure to a series of tax, compliance and other legal disputes that were outstanding at the time the previous chairman, Berge Gerdt Larsen, was replaced by shareholders in June 2011. The Company has since also significantly enhanced its corporate governance protocols and practices and introduced greater transparency in its dealings with stakeholders.
--- DNO International ASA is an Oslo-listed, Middle East and North Africa focused oil and gas company holding stakes in 20 blocks in various stages of exploration, development and production both onshore and offshore in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, the Republic of Yemen, the Sultanate of Oman, the United Arab Emirates, the Tunisian Republic and Somaliland.---
Oslo, 25 October 2013
DNO International ASA