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Norway Police Fine Transocean Units for Understating Profit

Norway’s agency for economic crime said it fined units of Transocean Ltd. for underreporting taxable income in 2001 and 2002.

The government in Oslo will seek 1.8 billion kroner ($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 said today in an e-mailed statement.

Transocean, which operates offshore oil rigs, said that the compensation claims “are without merit,” according to a statement issued by its attorneys in Norway. “We intend to vigorously contest any assertions by the Norwegian civil and criminal authorities in connection with the various transactions being investigated,” said Hanne Skaarberg Holen, a partner at PwC, in a statement.

Transocean, which is based in Switzerland, also said it “should be noted that the compensation claim directly overlaps with the ongoing civil tax disputes and does not represent any additional financial exposure to the Transocean group of companies,” according to the statement.

Roar Valderhaug, a spokesman for Ernst & Young Norway, said the company had “no comment, since we’re not party to the case.” Kai Thoegersen, Thommessen’s managing partner, didn’t respond to an e-mail seeking a comment and couldn’t immediately be reached by telephone.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Meera Bhatia at mbhatia2@bloomberg.net

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