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Lundin Energy challenges the legal basis of Swedish Prosecution Authority’s criminal charges in relation to Company’s past operations in Sudan

Lundin Energy challenges the legal basis of Swedish Prosecution Authority’s criminal charges in relation to Company’s past operations in Sudan

Lundin Energy challenges the legal basis of Swedish Prosecution Authority’s criminal charges in relation to Company’s past operations in Sudan

12 November 2021

Lundin Energy AB (“Lundin Energy” or the “Company”) has further considered the Swedish Prosecution Authority’s criminal charges against Ian H. Lundin and Alex Schneiter for complicity in crimes against international law, gross crime, following the Company’s initial announcement on 11 November 2021. The Company is therefore today publishing a summary of its position on the indictment from its defence counsel to provide further reassurance as to the defence. Ian H. Lundin, Alex Schneiter and the Company continue to strongly deny the criminal charges, and the Company reaffirms that there are no grounds for the allegations of wrongdoing by any of its representatives. The Company also reaffirms that it sees no circumstance in which a corporate fine or forfeiture could become payable and does not foresee any impact on the operational and financial guidance set out previously.

Following a comprehensive review of all the pre-investigation materials, and an initial assessment of the details of the indictment decision itself, the Company and its defence counsel are of the view that it is simply not possible to conclude that any representative of the Company, either directly or indirectly, was complicit in encouraging anyone to commit crimes against international law — let alone that any perpetrator as a result of such encouragement would have committed any such crimes. Since the Prosecutor cannot, on an objective assessment, expect a conviction in an indictment against the Company representatives, he could be pursuing an unjustified indictment.

Nick Walker, President and CEO of Lundin Energy, commented:
“This case is both unfounded and fundamentally flawed. There is no evidence linking any Company representative to the alleged primary crimes in this case and we see no circumstance in which a corporate fine or forfeiture could become payable given this fact. The Company intends to firmly contest the claims for a corporate fine and forfeiture of economic benefits and does not foresee any impact on the operational and financial guidance that has been set out previously.”

The Company is therefore today publishing a summary of its position on the indictment from its defence counsel to provide further reassurance as to the defence, available on this link https://www.lundinsudanlegalcase.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/Lundin-Energy-AB-counsels-statement-2021-11-12.pdf

This summary clearly shows six key areas in which the Swedish Prosecution Authority’s decision to indict is fundamentally flawed:

  1. The Company carried out fully legitimate and responsible business operations in Sudan as part of an international consortium. It operated within a framework of constructive engagement in the country as endorsed by the UN, EU and Sweden.
  2. There is no evidence or valid grounds for allegations of complicity by any Company representatives.
  3. The Prosecutor’s statement of the criminal act is extremely vague and inexplicit: after eleven years of investigation, it still does not meet basic requirements under Swedish law.
  4. The NGO reports referred to by the Swedish Prosecution Authority cannot be relied upon as evidence in court: they are primarily intended for opinion formation and activism and lack credibility, accuracy and reliability.
  5. Plaintiff interviews from the pre-investigation contain extensive inaccuracies, incomplete information and there are major credibility and integrity issues in relation to how the Plaintiffs were identified by the Prosecutor.
  6. There is no basis for a corporate fine or forfeiture against the Company, primarily because no crime has been committed in pursuit of legitimate business activities but also because the calculations are based on wholly incorrect assumptions leading to a number inflated by an order of magnitude, which have no basis in law and are highly speculative.

The Swedish Prosecution Authority’s decision to bring these criminal charges is yet another step in a long legal process which may take many years to reach a conclusion. The Swedish Prosecution Authority has ignored numerous submissions and applications — supported by independent legal experts, including eminent international law professors — as to why this case should not legally be allowed to proceed.

Biörn Riese, Jurie, Senior Defence Counsel for the Company stated:
“Having followed this seemingly never-ending investigation closely for many years, we remain confident that the operations in Sudan were normal, fully legitimate and that there is no basis whatsoever for any indictment of the Company’s representatives or any claim against the Company. While it is extremely disappointing and concerning that the Swedish Prosecution Authority has now issued an indictment instead of closing the investigation, which should have been done a long time ago, at least we now see the beginning of the end of all this. We are convinced that the court will find the Swedish Prosecution Authority’s motion to be without any merit.”

Ian H. Lundin, Alex Schneiter and the Company will continue to challenge the legal basis of the indictment on several grounds — including unreasonable delay, the vagueness of the suspicions and the Swedish Prosecution Authority’s exercise of so-called ‘universal jurisdiction’. As a result, it is possible there may not even be a trial on the merits of the case.

The Company remains confident that both the defence and the extensive deficiencies in the conduct of the investigation will be considered by the Court process in determining that its representatives did nothing wrong.

The Company will continue to assess this matter as it develops and update the market accordingly.

For more information on the Company’s past activities in the region, the case to date and our concerns over the legal process, please visit www.lundinsudanlegalcase.com.

 

Swedish Prosecution Authority brings charges in relation to Company’s past operations in Sudan

Sunrise

Swedish Prosecution Authority brings charges in relation to Company’s past operations in Sudan

11 November 2021

Lundin Energy AB (“Lundin Energy” or the “Company”) announces that the Swedish Prosecution Authority has today brought criminal charges against Chairman of the Board Ian H. Lundin and Director Alex Schneiter in relation to past operations in Sudan from 1999-2003 and 2000-2003, respectively. The charges also include claims against the Company for a corporate fine of SEK 3,000,000 and forfeiture of economic benefits of SEK 1,391,791,000, which according to the Swedish Prosecution Authority represents the value of the gain of SEK 720,098,000 that the Company made on the sale of the business in 2003. Following the bringing of charges, Ian H. Lundin has chosen not to stand for re-election as Chairman of the Board at the Company’s 2022 Annual General Meeting. The Company refutes that there are any grounds for allegations of wrongdoing by any of its representatives and does not foresee any impact on the operational and financial guidance that the Company has set out previously.

The indictment states that Ian H. Lundin and Alex Schneiter are accused of complicity in crime against international law, gross crime, in Sudan 1999-2003 and 2000-2003, respectively.

Both Ian H. Lundin and Alex Schneiter strongly deny the charges and have the full support of the Board in contesting them at trial. They will both remain on the Board as Directors and the wider management and operations of the Company will remain unaffected.

Ian H. Lundin, Chairman of Lundin Energy commented:
“This is an incomprehensible decision by the Swedish Prosecution Authority since it is not supported by any evidence in the investigation, a situation that has not changed for the last eleven years. I would like to personally thank all of our shareholders and partners for the support you have given the Company, as well as Alex and me. I know that we have done no wrong and that we will ultimately prove this in court. It has been an honour and a privilege to serve as Chairman of Lundin Energy for the past 20 years. During that time the Company has evolved from a small E&P company to a leading independent energy producer with one of the lowest carbon emission intensities in the whole upstream sector”.

The Company remains extremely concerned about the fairness, reliability and legal basis of the investigation and about the credibility and accuracy of the NGO reports that seem to form the basis of the Prosecution case. In the Company’s firm opinion, there is no evidence linking any representative to the alleged primary crimes and this will be fully demonstrated at trial. The Company is firmly convinced that it was a positive force for development in Sudan and operated there responsibly, as part of an international consortium, and in full alignment with the policy of constructive engagement endorsed by the UN, EU and Sweden at the time.

The indictment also includes claims against the Company for a corporate fine of SEK 3,000,000 and forfeiture of economic benefits of SEK 1,391,791,000, which according to the Swedish Prosecution Authority represents the value of the gain of SEK 720,098,000 that the Company made on the sale of the business in 2003. Any corporate fine or forfeiture of economic benefits would only be imposed after an adverse conclusion of a trial.

The Company reaffirms that it will firmly contest the claims for a corporate fine and forfeiture, and does not foresee any impact on the operational and financial guidance that the Company has set out previously. Whilst the forfeiture amount has been materially reduced from that previously announced by the Swedish Prosecution Authority in 2018, the Company believes that there is no legal basis for any such claim. This is another step in the legal process and whilst it may take many years to reach a conclusion, the Company sees no circumstance in which a corporate fine or forfeiture could become payable as there are no grounds for any allegations of wrongdoing by any of its representatives.

The Company continues to assess the indictment and will respond in detail following further analysis. Ian H. Lundin’s decision to not stand for re-election as Chairman at the next AGM will allow him to focus fully on the defence against the allegations and allow the Company and the Nomination Committee to manage the transition to a new Chairperson in an organised manner.

For more information on the Company’s past activities in the region, the case to date and our concerns over the legal process, please visit www.lundinsudanlegalcase.com. This site also includes a link to a report produced by independent experts and commissioned by the Board of Directors, as well as a copy of its Executive Summary.

 

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Lundin Petroleum receives information regarding a potential corporate fine and forfeiture of economic benefits in relation to past operations in Sudan (regulatory)