Kyrgyzstan Adds Former Centerra Gold Officers To Wanted List, Detains Former Prime Minister Related To Kumtor Mine Case

Former officers of Centerra Gold Inc. (TSX: CG) and the Kumtor Gold Company have been added to Kyrgyzstan’s wanted list related to its ongoing investigation in the alleged corruption enveloped in the highly contested Kumtor mine. The country’s law enforcers also detained another former prime minister as part of the high-profile case.

The nation’s State Committee for National Security said on Friday that their investigation has led them to believe that the former leaders of the Canadian mining company had been involved in “corrupt” activities. The committee is alleging that the company illegally pocketed up to $200 million in December 2013 and transferred them to a foreign account disguised as fictitious debt obligations.

Related to this, the committee relayed that it has launched the probe on former Centerra Gold CEO Ian Atkinson; the former presidents of Kumtor Gold Michael Fischer and Andrei Sazonov; and the former vice president of Kumtor Operating Company, John Suter.

The Central Asian nation’s law enforcers also reported that they have arrested and put in detention former Kyrgyz Prime Minister Joomart Otorbaev. The former country leader served as prime minister between 2014-2015. A decision on whether he will be moved formally into pretrial detention will be decided by a court within 48 hours.

In August, the country already held former Prime Minister Temir Sariev in pretrial detention related to the alleged corruption case surrounding the Kumtor mine. He was the company’s head of government from 2015-2016.

Centerra Gold’s subsidiaries, Kumtor Gold Company and Kumtor Operating Company, which own and operate the mine, have since filed for preemptive bankruptcy to preserve their value but the court postponed the meeting for an indefinite period of time.

Centerra Gold Inc. last traded at $9.12 on the TSX.

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