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Wednesday, October 17, 2018
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SEC files fraud charges against Penn West and former execs

CALGARY, A.B. — Two days after changing its name and vowing to put its scandal-tainted past behind it, the company formerly known as Penn West Petroleum is being hit with charges by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The SEC charges allege the Calgary-based oil and gas firm and three of its former finance executives participated in a “multi-year accounting fraud” where hundreds of millions of dollars were mislabelled to improve the appearance of its operating metrics.

None of the allegations against the company, which officially changed its name to Obsidian Energy Ltd. on Monday. have been proven in court.

The SEC charges involve accounting issues that led to Penn West reporting in September 2014 that it would restate its financial statements from 2012 to the first quarter of 2014.

Last year, the company paid C$53 million to settle resulting class action lawsuits by Canadian and American shareholders.

Obsidian CEO David French says he’s “disappointed” that the SEC is pursuing a matter that was reported to it years ago, adding he doesn’t think it will affect current operations of the company.

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