NHL suspends Ducks owner Samueli indefinitely day after guilty plea

Updated: June 24, 2008, 6:15 PM ET
Associated Press

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The NHL indefinitely suspended Anaheim Ducks owner Henry Samueli on Tuesday following the billionaire philanthropist's guilty plea to a felony count of lying to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Commissioner Gary Bettman said the NHL will review Samueli's status after he is sentenced on Aug. 18 and determine the length of his suspension.

Samueli, the co-founder of the chipmaker Broadcom Corp., entered the guilty plea in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana on Monday after a federal probe into illegal stock option backdating at Broadcom. Federal prosecutors have recommended a sentence of five years' probation and a $12.2 million fine.

During his suspension, Samueli can't be involved in Ducks matters or activities. Chief executive officer Michael Schulman will be responsible for the club's day-to-day operations.

"I respect the decision made by Commissioner Bettman and will abide by the terms of the suspension," Samueli said in a statement released by the Ducks. "I'm confident the team will be in great hands in my absence."

Samueli's wife, Susan, said she would also relinquish her role as co-owner to "avoid any improper appearance."

"Although we will not be involved in decision-making, we will be cheering on our Ducks as loudly as ever," she said in the statement.

Schulman said the team supported Samueli, 53, and expected to compete for another Stanley Cup championship this season. The Ducks became the first California-based club to win the Stanley Cup in 2007 and have qualified for the playoffs in three consecutive seasons.

Broadcom's other co-founder, Henry T. Nicholas III, is awaiting trial on multiple counts of conspiracy, securities fraud and other charges related to the alleged backdating scheme.

The company agreed in April to pay $12 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission to settle allegations of stock option backdating without admitting any wrongdoing.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press