Ex-Centerra CEO remains in Bulgarian limbo as extradition hearing delayed – by Jeff Gray (Globe and Mail – September 15, 2015)

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Former Centerra Gold Inc. chief executive officer Len Homeniuk, who was arrested by Bulgarian border police in July at the request of Kyrgyzstani authorities, is now expected to remain in limbo under house arrest in Bulgaria with his wife until at least Oct. 7.

Toronto-based Centerra operates the massive Kumtor gold mine in Kyrgyzstan and is locked in contentious talks with the government there over the country’s stake in the mine, which the former Soviet republic has in the past threatened to nationalize.

The 68-year-old Mr. Homeniuk, a Canadian-U.S. dual citizen who lives in California, retired as CEO in 2008. He was picked up in late July while on holiday with his family on a boat cruise on the Danube after Kyrgyzstan last year put him on Interpol’s wanted list, alleging he was involved in “corruption” while at the helm of Centerra. Mr. Homeniuk and Centerra dismiss the allegations as baseless, and Mr. Homeniuk says the allegations are nothing more than an attempt to pressure Centerra in the current talks.

In a phone interview, Mr. Homeniuk said on Monday a Bulgarian extradition hearing that had been scheduled for Wednesday has now been put off until Oct. 7. He said Kyrgyzstani officials had failed to provide the Bulgarian court with information about the country’s statute of limitations law and submitted their documents in Russian instead of Bulgarian, causing his hearing to be postponed.

“I am really disappointed. I think the Bulgarian system has collapsed and [the Bulgarians] have given the Kyrgyz every advantage they possibly can,” Mr. Homeniuk said.

Mr. Homeniuk, who now sits on the board of Polymetal International PLC, a London- and Moscow-listed Russian gold and silver miner, said his lawyers were going to apply to get him out on bail.

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