Centerra Gold Inc. has launched a lawsuit aimed at ejecting the new external manager of the recently nationalized Kumtor mine in the Kyrgyz Republic, alleging that he conspired to steal the asset from under the nose of the Canadian gold company while he was a director.
In the suit filed in the Ontario Superior Court on Thursday, Centerra alleges former board member, Tengiz Bolturuk, worked in secret with Canadian and U.S. law firms, and the Kyrgyzstani government to orchestrate an expropriation of the giant gold mine. “He had given his word to the President of the Republic that they would take back the Kumtor mine,” the suit said.
Mr. Bolturuk, a dual Kyrgyzstani and Canadian citizen, was a director of Toronto-based Centerra up until a few days ago. He joined the board in December as a representative of the Kyrgyzstani government, Centerra’s biggest shareholder, but resigned on May 17 after Kyrgyzstan seized control of Kumtor.
Centerra alleges Mr. Bolturuk breached his duty of loyalty and confidentiality to Centerra as a director, by going behind the company’s back. “Mr. Bolturuk has engaged in egregious breaches of his fiduciary duties and duty of confidentiality,” the suit said.
“Mr. Bolturuk stated publicly that he is working with and in the interests of the Republic and its wholly-owned state corporation, Kyrgyzaltyn, to expropriate Centerra’s flagship asset, the Kumtor gold mine, and to cause harm to Centerra.”