Simon Murray, a director of Sino-Forest Corp. and chairman of Swiss commodity trader Glencore International Plc, said he has no intention of stepping down from either company amid allegations of fraud at Sino-Forest.
“I am not planning to resign from Glencore and not from Sino-Forest,” Murray, 71, said yesterday in a telephone interview from Cameroon.
Sino-Forest Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Allen Chan resigned Aug. 28, two days after the Ontario Securities Commission ordered the suspension of the Chinese timberland operator’s shares. Canada’s main securities watchdog said some directors of the Hong Kong- and Mississauga, Ontario-based company may have engaged in acts “related to its securities” that they “knew or should have known” perpetuated a fraud. Murray wasn’t named in the agency’s statement.
Murray declined to comment on Sino-Forest pending the outcome of an independent review commissioned by the company of allegations made by Carson Block’s Muddy Waters LLC research firm. Muddy Waters said in a June 2 report that Sino-Forest overstated its timber holdings.
Sino-Forest has tumbled 67 percent in Toronto since the Muddy Waters report. The company has denied the allegations.
Chan and Murray were among Sino-Forest insiders who sold C$81 million ($83 million) of shares since the end of 2006, regulatory filings show. Chan sold C$3 million and Murray C$10.8 million.
Murray said the proceeds from his stock sales were used to acquire a stake in Greenheart Group Ltd., Sino-Forest’s Hong Kong-listed unit.
Murray was appointed chairman of Baar, Switzerland-based Glencore in April. The commodities trader raised 6 billion pounds ($9.8 billion) in an initial public offering in London in May.