LONDON, Aug 18 (Reuters) - A criminal case involving the three billionaire shareholders behind Eurasian Natural Resources Corp ENRC.L has been settled, the Financial Times reported on Thursday.
All charges pending in Belgian courts against Alexander Mashkevich, Patokh Chodiev and Alijan Ibragimov -- the trio of business partners who own 45 percent of ENRC -- were dropped on June 30, according to the FT, citing justice officials.
The decision to drop the charges is seen as removing an obstacle for one of the men, Alexander Mashkevich, to become a board member and chairman at the Kazakh miner, according to the article.
The newspaper cited a person familiar with the company as saying Mashkevich is now set to be nominated for a seat amid a board shake-up.
“The intention is that once nominated, he will become chairman,” the person said.
The charges against the men, which had been open for 15 years, had been one factor why they agreed not to sit on the ENRC board after its 2007 flotation in London.
Mashkevich had been ENRC chairman before the flotation but since then has had no formal role.
The London-listed mining company has been reviewing its board since June 8, when the trio united with the Kazakh government, to sack two independent directors. [ID:nLDE7570H5] [ID:nL6E7IS1GU]
The Belgian case involved allegations of money laundering and forgery of about $55 million in commissions that Tractebel, a Belgian engineering group, paid the men in the 1990s.
In June the three men accepted an offer made by prosecutors to pay a fine and settle the case, the FT said, citing two people familiar with the dossier.
The amount of the fine was not disclosed, and while the case was settled, the men made no formal admission of guilt.
A representative for the Brussels prosecutor’s office confirmed to the FT that no legal cases against the men have been active since the end of June.
“No judgment has been made in proceedings against Mr Mashkevitch, Mr Ibragimov or Mr Chodiev. They are therefore presumed innocent,” the spokeswoman told the newspaper.
On Wednesday ENRC told investors it would take all stakeholders’ interests into account in a key governance review, while reporting a 33 percent increase in pre-tax profits to 1.6 billion pounds. [ID:nL5E7JH049]
A spokeswoman for ENRC was not available for immediate comment. (Reporting by Stephen Mangan; Editing by Gary Hill)