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Press release from PR Newswire

Noble Corporation Announces Settlement of FCPA Matters

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Noble Corporation Announces Settlement of FCPA Matters12:50 EDT Thursday, November 04, 2010ZUG, Switzerland, Nov. 4, 2010 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Noble Corporation (NYSE: NE) announced today the resolution of the previously disclosed investigations by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) and the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of the legality under the United States Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) of certain reimbursement payments made by Noble's Nigerian subsidiary to customs agents in Nigeria.  The DOJ investigation was resolved with a non-prosecution agreement pursuant to which the DOJ agreed not to bring charges against the Company and Noble agreed to pay to the government fines of $2.6 million.  Noble agreed to resolve the SEC's investigation by consenting to disgorge profits and pay prejudgment interest in the amount of $5.6 million. In May 2007, the Company self-reported to the DOJ and the SEC possible improper payments by a customs agent in connection with securing temporary import permits and extensions for the operations of Noble's rigs in Nigeria.  An internal investigation was promptly conducted by independent outside counsel, and the Company has cooperated thoroughly with the independent investigator's review and the government's investigation."Ethical business conduct and strict compliance with the law remain central to Noble's operating philosophy," said David W. Williams, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer.  "We have consistently and openly cooperated with the DOJ and SEC since self-reporting in mid-2007 and have shared the results of our own independent investigation. We are pleased that these investigations have been concluded and a resolution has been reached. The Company is moving forward with a continuing commitment to ethical business practices and a dedication to compliance, ideas that are reflected in our core values, our policies, our training and our expectations for ethical behavior."The non-prosecution agreement with the DOJ provides for certain undertakings by Noble, including continued cooperation, compliance with the FCPA, certain self-reporting obligations, and certain restrictions on public discussion regarding the agreement, but does not require a monitor.  In order to resolve the SEC investigation, Noble and the SEC agreed to the entry of a civil judgment against Noble for violations of the FCPA.  Pursuant to the agreed judgment, Noble agreed to refrain from denying the allegations contained in the SEC's petition, except in other litigation to which the Commission is not a party.  The agreed judgment does not require a monitor.  As noted in the Company's recent earnings call, Noble has accrued a total settlement provision of $8.2 million relating to the resolution of these two matters.  About NobleNoble is a leading offshore drilling contractor for the oil and gas industry. Noble performs, through its subsidiaries, contract drilling services with a fleet of 69 offshore drilling units (including five drilling rigs currently under construction), located worldwide, including in the Middle East, India, the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, Mexico, the Mediterranean, the North Sea, Brazil, West Africa and Asian Pacific. Noble also owns and operates a dynamically positioned floating production, storage, offloading vessel.  Noble's shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "NE". Additional information on Noble Corporation is available via the worldwide web at Noble CorporationFor further information: Investors, Lee M. Ahlstrom, Vice President - Investor Relations and Planning, +1-281-276-6440, Media, John S. Breed, Director of Corporate Communications, +1-281-276-6729, both of Noble Drilling Services Inc.