At a hearing on 27 August 2015, a Bulgarian court ruled that authorities in Kyrgyzstan would be provided with more time to collect evidence supporting the extradition of Leonard Homeniuk, the former CEO of the gold mining company, Centerra Gold, from Bulgaria to Kyrgyzstan, in connection with alleged corruption.
The Bulgarian court has adjourned his extradition hearing to 16 September 2015 and authorities in Kyrgyzstan now have until 10 September 2015 to produce additional documentation supporting extradition. Mr Homeniuk denies any wrongdoing. A report is here.
2003-2004 Restructuring of Centerra Gold
In 2003-2004, Centerra Gold underwent a restructuring, from a subsidiary of the uranium company, Cameco Corporation, to an independent company, with responsibility for the Kumtor gold mine in Kyrgystan.
The charges against Mr Homeniuk relate to the deal, concluded in 2004, between the Kyrgyzstan government and Centerra Gold. The restructure was approved by a Decree of the Government of Kyrgyzstan. However, the transaction was controversial, with Kyrgyz authorities alleging that improper transactions with local officials were made.
Owing to public pressure, in part due to transitions in Kyrgyzstan’s government after two revolutions in 2005 and 2010, the Kyrgyz parliament issued a resolution to review Kumtor’s compliance with operational, environmental, health and safety and community standards in June 2012.
An INTERPOL Red Notice was issued for Mr Homeniuk’s arrest in 2014, on charges provided by the judicial authorities of Kyrgyzstan of ‘involvement in corruption’.
Mr Homeniuk was arrested by Bulgarian authorities in the town of Vidin on 27 July 2015, whilst on a holiday cruise with his family, pursuant to the Red Notice. He spent 11 days in prison before being transferred to house detention in Sofia.
At a hearing in Bulgaria on 27 August 2015, it was held that Kyrgyzstan had failed to produce enough evidence to secure Mr Homeniuk’s extradition to Bulgaria.
Mr Homeniuk’s extradition hearing was adjourned to 16 September 2015 and Kyrgyzstan authorities had until 10 September 2015 to produce additional documentation to support his extradition. Mr Homeniuk has again been placed again under house arrest, ahead of the hearing.