Kyrgyz court rules against Centerra in first of govt lawsuits

BISHKEK, May 23 (Reuters) - A court in Kyrgyzstan fined the country’s biggest gold miner Kumtor, a unit of Canada’s Centerra Gold, about $10,000 for environmental damage on Monday in a move following renewed tensions between the government and the firm.

The Central Asian republic and Centerra have been locked in a bitter dispute over profit sharing and Bishkek said last year it was withdrawing from the negotiations.

Kyrgyzstan’s environmental and technical safety authority has filed several lawsuits against Kumtor for a total of about $103 million and Monday’s ruling concerned the first of those.

Kumtor’s lawyers told reporters at the hearing that they would appeal the ruling.

Kyrgyz prosecutors raided the company offices last month to collect documents related to a separate criminal case alleging financial violations by the firm. (Reporting by Olga Dzyubenko; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov, editing by David Evans)