African Minerals Chairman Misses AGM for Company Business Abroad

African Minerals Ltd. Chairman Frank Timis, who last week denied benefiting from a $50 million payment to a Cyprus-registered iron-ore company, didn’t attend today’s annual general meeting of investors in London.

Timis was unable to be at the AGM because he is on a business trip abroad related to strengthening the West African mining company’s finances, Roger Liddell, its senior independent non-executive director, told shareholders. Liddell chaired the meeting in the absence of Timis.

African Minerals held an internal investigation into the 2012 payment made to Global Iron Ore Ltd. to cancel sales agreements for the steelmaking ingredient with the group, documents posted on the mining company’s website last week show. The probe may make it difficult to raise funds African Minerals needs to expand its Tonkolili mining operation, according to Rob Clifford, an analyst at Deutsche Bank AG.

Timis, the founder and biggest shareholder with almost 13 percent of African Minerals, agreed to the payment to GIO Cyprus without board approval, which wasn’t required, according to the company.

Affidavits from the former chief financial officer of GIO Cyprus, who wasn’t named by African Minerals, and an investor in GIO Cyprus contained claims that Timis, director Dermot Coughlan, his son Craig and a fourth person each owned 25 percent of GIO Cyprus “pursuant to a side agreement.”

The investigation found no evidence Timis was a director or shareholder in GIO Cyprus or any of its affiliates, African Minerals said in an e-mailed statement last week.

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