The Norwegian government will seek 1.8 billion NOK ($310 million) in back taxes from Transocean and former employees of accounting firm Ernst & Young and Norwegian law-firm Thommessen, the Norwegian National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime (Økokrim) said today in an e-mailed statement.
Directorate bases its claims against the defendants that they have committed serious tax fraud against the Norwegian government in 2001 and 2002 and thus caused the government a loss of more than 1.8 billion NOK.
– The defendants in the case is complex, as well as individual companies in the Transocean Group, tax advisers Ernst & Young and law firm Thommessen. It should be noted that neither Ernst & Young and law firm Thommessen is accused, but two centrally placed employees in the Ernst & Young, one lawyer partner who led the tax department and one tax auditors. Also, in the law firm Thommessen, one lawyer partner is indicted.
ØKOKRIM assumes that the claim is covered wholly or partially by insurance schemes by Ernst & Young and Thommessen, but this has not yet been finally confirmed.
Transocean Ltd. is one of the world's largest offshore drilling contractors. The company rents floating mobile drill rigs, along with the equipment and personnel for operations, to oil and gas companies at an average daily rate of US$282,700 (2010). Transocean's day rates extend as high as US$650,000 for its deep-water drillships, which house dual activity derricks and can drill in ultra-deep ocean depths of 10,000 ft (3,000 m). Recently, Transocean has been implicated in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill resulting from the explosion of one of its oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico.