Eurasian Natural Resources Corp., the metals producer that’s the subject of a takeover offer from its founders and the Kazakh government, filed a lawsuit against Paul Judge, a former director, for leaking information.
ENRC is seeking damages and an injunction against Judge for disclosing confidential information to the press and to return all confidential documents he has, the company said in a statement today. The company is under investigation by the U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office over allegations of fraud, bribery and corruption over its activities in Kazakhstan and Africa.
Judge left ENRC after the company said on April 23 that he wouldn’t seek re-election at its annual general meeting in June. Chairman Mehmet Dalman resigned on April 23 and was later replaced by director Gerhard Ammann.
“We have conducted thorough investigations into the malicious leaks which have damaged the company, its reputation and ultimately shareholder value,” Ammann said in the statement. While “these investigations continue, the company has an obligation to bring legal action where appropriate in order to protect the company’s information and stakeholders’ interests.”
Judge denied the allegation and said he’ll defend the claim “vigorously.”
“If ENRC persists in the legal action then I look forward to the day when the High Court examines the full factual background to ENRC, its directors, shareholders and this misconceived claim,” he said in an e-mailed statement.
ENRC founders Alexander Machkevitch, Patokh Chodiev and Alijan Ibragimov last month bid $2.65 in cash and 0.23 of Kazakhmys Plc stock for each share. That’s equivalent to 234.3 pence a share, valuing ENRC at 3 billion pounds ($4.6 billion), they said. Shareholders of Kazakhmys, which owns 26 percent in ENRC, will vote Aug. 2 on the offer. The bidders need the approval of Kazakhmys to proceed with the deal.
ENRC traces its roots to the founders’ participation in the 1990s privatizations of Kazakh state assets, which were gradually combined into a single group of companies and listed in London in 2007.
While ENRC said the lawsuit was filed today, court records show a complaint was filed against Judge on June 7.
The case is: ENRC Plc v. Sir Paul Judge, case no. 13-3049, High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division (London).