NHL suspends Ducks owner Henry Samueli

The NHL has suspended Anaheim Ducks owner Henry Samueli for lying to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The NHL confirmed Tuesday that Anaheim Ducks owner Henry Samueli is suspended indefinitely for lying to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. 

Samueli pleaded guilty Monday in a Santa Ana, Calif., court to one count of making a false statement to the SEC.

The 53-year-old billionaire will be sentenced Aug. 18, at which time the NHL will determine the exact length of Samueli's suspension and whether he should be punished further.

"We hold NHL personnel to the highest standards, and this plea requires the imposition of discipline under league rules," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said.

"I respect the decision … and will abide by the terms of the suspension," Samueli responded. "I'm confident the team will be in great hands in my absence."

Samueli's wife, Susan, will relinquish her role as Ducks co-owner to "avoid any improper appearance."

Alternate governor Michael Schulman will replace Henry Samueli as team governor on an interim basis and oversee the Ducks for the duration of the suspension.

"As an organization, we continue to support Henry 100 per cent," Schulman said. "Our goals and day-to-day operational structure remain the same."

Financial issues requiring ownership approval will be handled by Bettman, while hockey matters will remain the responsibility of general manager Brian Burke.  

"My admiration and respect for Henry Samueli is in no way reduced or dimished," Burke said. "I have great respect for him."

Samueli's plea agreement was negotiated following a criminal investigation into illegal stock-option backdating at Broadcom Corp., the computer chip business he co-founded with Henry Nicholas in 1991.

Under the terms of the agreement, Samueli reportedly will receive five years of probation and pay $12 million US to the U.S. Treasury and a $250,000 US fine.

He will not face prosecution on further allegations of stock-option backdating.

Nicholas, who was Broadcom's chief executive officer, was indicted on conspiracy, securities fraud and drug charges, as was William Ruehle, Broadcom's former chief financial officer.

With files from the Associated Press