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Driller Wants $800 Mln Deutsche Bank Suit Heard in Norway

Petromena ASA, an oil services firm in bankruptcy, said its $800 million lawsuit against Deutsche Bank AG accusing the lender of putting its interest before the company’s by pulling out of a refinancing deal should be heard in Norway.

Deutsche Bank, which owned about a quarter of Petromena’s debt, offered in 2008 to help provide financing so the company could complete construction of deep-water drilling rigs, according to documents filed by Petromena’s lawyers with a London court. Deutsche Bank then withdrew its support and sold the bonds to a competing offshore driller -- Seadrill Ltd. Petromena filed for bankruptcy in 2009.

“Without the funds to complete the rig construction, Petromena’s business fell apart,” lawyers acting for the company’s chairman said in the documents.

Petromena filed a lawsuit seeking damages from Deutsche Bank in Oslo in September 2012. The Frankfurt-based lender, in court documents asking a London court to hear the dispute and throw it out, called the claim “ambitious.”

Kathryn Hanes, a spokeswoman for Deutsche Bank, declined to immediately comment.

Petromena’s lawyer David Wolfson, at a London court hearing today, said Norway was the correct venue for a trial.

The case is Deutsche Bank AG London Branch v. Petromena ASA, High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division, Commercial Court, 12-842.

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