Greek Energy Minister Panos Skourletis says Eldorado Gold Corp. Chief Executive Officer Paul Wright shorted the shares of his own company, comments the miner dismissed as “utter nonsense,” as tensions mount between the Canadian company and the government in Athens.
Eldorado shares fell 19 percent to C$3.53 on Jan. 12 in Toronto, the biggest one-day decline since December 2008, after Wright announced at a press conference in Athens that the company was suspending its investment plans for its Greek mines, blaming the attitude of the government.
“Wright is a CEO, he’s smart and he’s experienced; he gave a press conference knowing that the share price of the company would tumble,” Skourletis said when asked for an update on the country’s talks with Eldorado Gold in a wide-ranging interview on Thursday.
“Why did he do that? In my opinion, and I told him when he was here, he played games with the share price. ‘You have told your friends that you are going to say these things at the press conference so that they could sell beforehand and then buy at lower prices.”’
The minister’s comments are the latest in a battle of words between the two sides that have failed to reach agreement over Eldorado’s plans to develop its mines in Greece. The country’s ruling Syriza party has said the company’s activities are polluting the environment. Skourletis last summer revoked a development permit for one of Eldorado’s mining sites. The decision was annulled by Greece’s top administrative court.
Not Backed Up
“I am absolutely certain that he shorts the company’s shares,” Skourletis said about Wright. “His compensation is tied, among other things, to the company’s share price, and he plays games with it.” The minister provided no trading details to back his claim.
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