SEC v. Mark A. Jackson and James J. Ruehlen

In one of the few recent Foreign Corrupt Practices Act cases to be litigated, executives of Noble Corporation, an oil services company, faced allegations of improper payments to Nigerian customs officials in connection with the importation of oil rigs into Nigerian waters. An Analysis Group team led by Managing Principal T. Christopher Borek and Vice President James Rosberg supported two experts retained by the defense - John Campbell, a former US ambassador to Nigeria, and Aaron Sayne, a consultant with expertise on the Nigerian oil sector. Dr. Campbell testified at deposition about Nigerian governance practices. Drawing upon his experience while ambassador and his scholarly work to evaluate the payments made by the Noble executives, Dr. Campbell concluded that the payments were consistent with normal Nigerian business practices and were required to secure timely performance of routine government services. Mr. Sayne testified as to the regulatory and political environment of the Nigerian oil industry.

Presiding judge Keith P. Ellison stated several times that he believed that understanding Nigerian culture and business practices was an important part of evaluating the legality of the alleged improper payments. One week before the scheduled beginning of trial, the SEC agreed to a "no admit/no deny, no penalty, injunction only" settlement on one count of improper record keeping with each of the two defendants.


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