UPDATE 2-Sino-Forest says ex-CEO leaves firm, three fired
* Former CEO Allen Chan resigns from company
* CFO resigns executive job, to stay on to assist
* Three other executives fired
TORONTO, April 17 (Reuters) - Embattled Chinese forestry company Sino-Forest Corp said on Tuesday its former CEO had quit his final role at the company and three other executives were fired after securities regulators signaled they could press charges against them.
Sino-Forest said Allen Chan, who stepped down as chairman and chief executive in August, has resigned from his position as "founding chairman emeritus".
Chan stepped down after receiving an enforcement notice from the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC), Canada's main securities regulator. He will remain available to assist with efforts to realize stakeholder value in relation to assets located in China, the company said.
The OSC served some current and former Sino-Forest executives with enforcement notices last week, and notified the China-focused company it had found that it had run afoul of sections of securities law pertaining to fraud.
The OSC typically issues enforcement notices near the end of an investigation to give respondents a chance to point out special circumstances that may influence a decision on whether the OSC lays formal charges. The company said it intends to respond to the enforcement notice it received.
Chief Financial Officer David Horsley has also resigned his executive position, but he will continue as an employee to assist with restructuring, the company said.
Sino-Forest said it has fired three other executives that had been placed on administrative leave in August. The terminations came after a review of an enforcement notice directed at the company, it said.
The OSC launched a probe into Sino-Forest after short seller Carson Block and his firm Muddy Water accused the company in June of exaggerating the size of its forestry assets.
An internal company investigation into the fraud allegations proved inconclusive. Sino-Forest was granted court protection from its creditors after it argued that the allegations against it had paralyzed its business.
The case is the most prominent among a spate of accounting scandals that have tainted the image of Chinese companies listed in North America. The accusations have prompted trading halts, delistings, lawsuits and regulatory probes in both the United States and Canada.
Sino-Forest's stock, halted for months, is being delisted by the Toronto Stock Exchange in the wake of the company's bankruptcy protection proceedings.
In light of the departures, Sino-Forest said it will move to give more powers to its court-appointed monitor, FTI Consulting Canada Inc, under Canada's Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act.
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