Former Canadian mining CEO freed in Bulgaria; court rejects extradition request

TORONTO — A Canadian former mining executive detained in Bulgaria has been freed after a judge denied Kyrgyzstan’s request to extradite him.

The court ruled Wednesday that Kyrgyzstan had not provided enough legal justification for Bulgaria to hand over Leonard Homeniuk, former CEO of Centerra Gold (TSX:CG).

The Kyrgyz government had issued an international arrest warrant for Homeniuk on allegations of corruption, which he says are politically motivated.

Homeniuk, who stepped down as chief executive of Toronto-based Centerra in 2008, spent more than six weeks under house arrest before being granted bail after being detained July 27 while on a family cruise.

Centerra runs the massive Kumtor gold mine in Kyrgyzstan and has been embroiled in contentious negotiations with the government over a revenue-splitting deal.

Homeniuk has said the allegation are without merit, describing them as an attempt to pressure the company into signing a deal that favours the Kyrgyz government.

Kyrgyzstan’s red, or wanted for extradition, notice for Homeniuk remains active on the Interpol website.

 

Peter Henderson, The Canadian Press

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