UK's SFO issues arrest warrant for CEO of Kazakh miner Eurasian Resources

FILE PHOTO: Birds fly past Eurasian Resources Group's Aksu Power Plant on the outskirts of the town of Aksu, northeastern Kazakhstan, February 22, 2018. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov/File Photo

(Reuters) - Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) issued an arrest warrant on Friday for the CEO of Kazakh mining company Eurasian Resources Group (ERG), whose unit ENRC Ltd is at the centre of an investigation into fraud, bribery and corruption on an acquisition of some mineral assets.

The warrant for the arrest of Benedikt Sobotka, 37, was issued over his failure to appear for questioning in London on June 26, the SFO said.

Sobotka would be willing to assist once the SFO clarifies whether he would be appearing in a personal capacity or as a representative of ERG, Kevin Roberts of Morrison & Foerster (UK) LLP, which is representing Sobotka, said.

“Sobotka was never an employee of ENRC. He was appointed as CEO of ERG, a different corporate entity not under investigation, three years after the period being investigated by the SFO,” Roberts said.

ERG, which is registered in Luxembourg, has ferrochrome, aluminium, iron ore and energy operations in Kazakhstan, copper and cobalt assets in Africa and iron ore mines in Brazil.

Reporting by Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Robin Pomeroy and Dale Hudson