Bumi inquiry unable to back misuse claims

THE LONG-awaited Macfarlanes legal report commissioned by London-listed coal miner Bumi is unable to substantiate claims of financial misconduct at Indonesian arm Bumi Resources, it said yesterday.

The City law firm was appointed in September to investigate allegations of potential financial irregularities at Bumi Resources, in which Bumi has a 29 per cent stake, following information handed to the board by Bumi co-founder Nat Rothschild.

“Circumstantial evidence supports a number of the allegations but, due to the unwillingness of key parties to be interviewed and provide information as well as provenance issues, the allegations have not been substantiated,” the FTSE 250 miner said in a statement yesterday.

Bumi, which was founded in 2011 from cash shell Vallar, said it is unable to release details of the report due to legal risks that exist because the information that the report hinges on was ascertained to have been obtained illegally.

The coal miner added that it would continue to engage with the Indonesian authorities and the UK’s Serious Fraud Office, and investigate all recourse options available.

It is also investigating why due diligence carried out before the miner was set up did not reveal the issues which prompted the probe, something which the UK Takeover Panel is also looking into.

Bumi is currently preparing for a showdown with Rothschild next month, who is demanding the removal of 12 out of the miner’s 14 directors, and that shareholders reinstate him at the top of the company.