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Seadrill Letter Request Approved

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The U.S. Bankruptcy Court approved Seadrill’s official committee of unsecured creditors’ motion to issue a letter of request for international judicial assistance from the Kingdom of Norway.

As previously reported, “The testimony that the Committee seeks from Svanevik is not only within the scope of permissible discovery under Rule 26, but crucial to the Committee’s investigation. Svanevik served as a Director of Seadrill Limited and North Atlantic Drilling, Ltd. (a Debtor subsidiary), and Chairman of the Board of Archer Limited (a Bermuda company 15.7% owned by Seadrill Limited), throughout 2016 and until mid-November 2017, when he resigned from these positions. Also until mid-November 2017, Svanevik was employed by Seatankers Group, a Cypriot entity controlled by John Fredriksen, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Seadrill Limited, who also controls Hemen. Svanevik served on the Refinancing Committee of the Board of Directors of Seadrill Limited and was identified as a document custodian both by the Debtors and by Hemen in connection with the Committee’s Rule 2004 requests.”

In addition, “The documents produced by the Debtors and Hemen in discovery show that Svanevik acted as a key intermediary between Seadrill Limited, Hemen, and other investors on all aspects of the capital raise and marketing process throughout 2016 and 2017. Given his dual connections with the Debtors and with Hemen and Fredriksen during the relevant period, Svanevik is uniquely situated to address the role of Hemen and Fredriksen in the transactions at issue. Hemen and the Debtors have produced Svanevik’s communications concerning the transactions, and it is important that the Committee have the opportunity to examine him on the contents of those communication….The Committee seeks emergency relief with respect to this Motion in light of the time that will be required to effectuate the Letter of Request with the Norwegian authorities through Hague Convention procedures. The Letter of Request must be sent to the Norwegian authorities promptly so as to enable the Committee to take Svanevik’s deposition prior to the close of discovery.”

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