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MediterraneanOil&Gas (MOG)

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Thursday 27 March, 2014

MediterraneanOil&Gas

Litigation Update: MOG Wins Legal Case

RNS Number : 3558D
Mediterranean Oil & Gas Plc
27 March 2014
 



 

27 March 2014

 

Mediterranean Oil & Gas Plc

(the "Company" or "MOG")

 

Litigation Update: MOG wins legal case

 

The Commercial Court today handed down judgment in the legal case brought by Leni Gas & Oil Plc ("LGO") against MOG's subsidiary Malta Oil Pty Limited. 

 

MOG is pleased to announce that LGO's case failed at every stage and was dismissed by the Court with judgment being entered in favour of the Defendants, Malta Oil Pty Limited and Phoenicia Energy Co Limited.

 

In the opening section of his judgment, Mr Justice Males said:

 

"…the claimants' case fails at every stage, in particular,… there was in my judgment no question of any intention to mislead on the part of Dr Higgs."

 

Mr Justice Males also said:

 

"On the critical issues Dr Higgs was a frank and straightforward witness in my view.   Despite vigorous and even hostile cross examination in which he was personally accused of deliberate fraud over almost a day and a half, his answers were for the most part clear and compelling.  They were also, in my view, in accordance with both the contemporary documents and the inherent probabilities of the case.  To the extent that his account of the critical telephone conversation was in conflict with Mr Ritson's, I have no hesitation in preferring Dr Higgs' evidence."

 

In the closing paragraph of his judgment Mr Justice Males said:  "To borrow the oil industry terminology… it may have seemed to LGO that the prospectivity for these proceedings and the amount at stake were such that the economics of this litigation were positive.  However, litigation like the oil business is a high risk activity and LGO has failed to strike oil."

 

Further extracts from the judgment are set out in the appendix below.

 

A further hearing has been set for next Thursday 3 April 2014 to deal with issues arising out of this decision such as the payment of the costs of the case.  MOG will keep shareholders informed. 

 

MOG's Chairman, Keith Henry said:

 

 

"The MOG Board is delighted by the strength of the court's decision to rule on all matters in our favour.  We never doubted that we would win this case and Bill Higgs would have his reputation as a straightforward businessman and honest person upheld. 

 

"In 2012, LGO was not prepared to risk a relatively small sum of money to maintain its interest in Malta Area 4 and yet has been prepared to risk very substantial sums of money on High Court litigation.  LGO's strategy, including the issuing of certain RNS announcements, has been difficult to understand.  Our strategy, when all else had failed, was to let the court decide based on the evidence as presented.  With this episode now behind us, Bill and the MOG team can look forward to focussing on the much more positive aspects of continuing to grow the company."

 

MOG's Chief Executive Officer, Bill Higgs said

 

"This outcome will come as no surprise to anyone.  We have worked hard to protect our shareholders' interests and we will ensure that we take all available steps to recover our legal costs from LGO without delay.  In addition, we will also be consulting our solicitors in relation to certain public statements made by individual directors of LGO during the course of the litigation process.  As this case is now at an end, I am very much looking forward to spending my time progressing our business and in particular the spudding of the well offshore Malta Area 4.  I can assure shareholders that the court case has had no impact on operations and I thank them for their continued support."

 

MOG was represented by Memery Crystal LLP

LGO was represented by Mishcon de Reya.

 

ENQUIRIES:

 

Mediterranean Oil & Gas Plc

www.medoilgas.com

Bill Higgs, Chief Executive

Chris Kelsall, Finance Director

Tel: +44 (0)203 178 5807

Liberum Capital Limited (Nominated Adviser and Joint Broker)

Clayton Bush/Ryan de Franck/Tim Graham

Tel: +44 (0)20 3100 2222

RBC Capital Markets (Joint Broker)

Matthew Coakes/Jeremy Low /Jonny Hardy

Tel: +44 (0)207 653 4000

FTI Consulting (Public Relations)

Ben Brewerton/Alex Beagley/Georgia Mann

Tel: +44 (0)203 727 1000

 

 

 

Appendix

Extracts from the judgment of Mr Justice Males dated 27 March 2014

 

·     "I consider that Dr Higgs was prepared to drive a hard bargain and was a skilled and successful negotiator…. But I see no reason to doubt his honesty.  Indeed, if anyone was bending the truth slightly in the negotiations for the sale of LGO's interest it was Mr Ritson, who represented to Dr Higgs that LGO had a cash offer of US $500,000 for its interest… when that was not true.

 

·     "It is true that Dr Higgs did not mention the negotiations with Genel by name or even the fact that MOG was in negotiations with a potential farminee.  That is not in the least surprising.  Such information would have been regarded as highly confidential and MOG was under no duty to disclose it."

 

·     "As it happens Dr Higgs was right not to trust LGO to stick to the agreement in principle which had been reached for the sale of its interest to MOG.  It is common ground that LGO was not legally committed.  It did not regard itself as morally committed either.  Mr Lenigas had already observed in an internal email to Mr  Ritson that:  'We can still dump the deal next week'."

 

·     "… Mr Ritson may have believed in July 2012 that MOG was not in serious negotiations with a potential farminee. Certainly his view was that 'the farm-out may well fail'… But that belief was based upon his own assessment of the situation once he was told that the new data had not revealed the existence of any Cretaceous prospect."

 

·     "LGO formed its own view that a successful farm-out was unlikely and saw no need to ask about this."

 

·     "…Mr Ritson was given two important pieces information which on their face appeared to indicate good news during the 10 July 2012 telephone conversation.  The first was that MOG had decided to commit to drilling a well… The second was that the Maltese Government had now given a comfort letter, a matter about which LGO had been asking for some time.  But neither of these pieces of information deflected Mr Ritson from his determination 'to get out'."


This information is provided by RNS
The company news service from the London Stock Exchange
 
END
 
 
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