Ex-Petropavlovsk chief executive says there is no ‘plot’ to ‘steal company by stealth’

Gold bars are displayed at Shinhan Bank
Ex-Petropavlovsk boss denied 'plot' to take over business by stealth (Source: Getty)

The former chief executive officer (CEO) of gold miner Petropavlovsk has today denied that there is a “plot” to “steal the company by stealth” from the current board.

In a letter to shareholders seen by City A.M., the company’s former chief executive Pavel Maslovskiy, denied that he was involved in a conspiracy to steal the company by stealth.

Read more: Under-fire Petropavlovsk board receive support from advisory groups

“Let me assure you that I am not aware of, or involved in, any ‘plot’, such as the existing board would have you believe exists, to steal the company by stealth,” he wrote.

The letter to shareholders, dated 20 June, urged them to kick out the miner’s present board at next week’s annual general meeting (AGM) and replace it with a new board which includes former directors Sir Roderic Lyne and Robert Jenkins, who were themselves ousted last year by shareholders dissatisfied with the company’s performance.

In the letter Maslovskiy alleged that a key project in Russia, the pressure oxidation hub, was behind schedule despite the current leadership of the business claiming that it was on track.

Read more: Petropavlovsk's second largest shareholder warns against boardroom overhaul

“I am not confident that the current board have the experience, commitment or competence to deliver this immensely significant project,” he wrote.

“By their lack of commitment to the workforce and the employees, the directors have lost the confidence of those on the ground and, from what I am hearing, the project is behind schedule, despite what the CEO may have told you,” the letter said.

A spokesperson for Petropavlovsk said: “The company is disappointed that an employee decided to violate company policy by distributing these misleading and ill-conceived comments. We are sure that our shareholders realise that this kind of action was likely not a self generated idea by the employee but was probably instigated by others who are determined to disrupt the operations of the company.”

Read more: More turmoil for gold miner Petropavlovsk as it ousts board member

The row over the future of the company is set to culminate at its annual meeting on 29 June in London.

Last month, shareholders called Cabs Platform and Slevin, which together hold 9.11 per cent of the business, called for the return of former directors Maslovskiy, Lyne and Jenkins.

The current board received a fillip last week when shareholder advisory groups Glass Lewis and ISS recommended that shareholders back the current board and oppose the attempts to remove it.

Earlier this week the identity of one of the investors behind Cabs Platform was reported by Bloomberg to be a Russian cryptocurrency executive Evgeny Khata.

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