Former mining CEO detained in Bulgaria gets bail after extradition hearing delayed again

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SOFIA, Bulgaria — A Canadian former mining executive detained in Bulgaria has been granted bail as he fights extradition to Kyrgyzstan on corruption allegations.

Leonard Homeniuk, who stepped down as CEO of Toronto-based mining company Centerra Gold in 2008, has spent most of his time under house arrest since he was detained on July 27.

Kyrgyzstan wants Homeniuk extradited to face charges of corruption that the former executive says are politically motivated.

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Homeniuk, 68, said he will post bail of 35,000 Bulgarian lev, roughly $26,700, on Thursday morning. The conditions of his bail have not been set.

And even if the authorities allow him to leave the country, he plans to fight the extradition in court.

“I have nothing to hide and nothing to fear,” he said.

Homeniuk said he’s never has any previous issues with the law and that he intends to clear his name.

“I’m not going to, at this stage, let my name be clouded,” he said.

Centerra (TSX:CG) runs the massive Kumtor gold mine in Kyrgyzstan and has been embroiled in contentious negotiations with the government over a revenue-splitting deal.

Homeniuk said the charges date to 2004 and are an attempt to pressure the company into signing a deal that favours the Kyrgyz government.

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He said the statute of limitations has long since expired and that he offered to work with the Kyrgyz government in March of this year and hand over any information they required.

“They’ve never ever taken me up on that offer,” Homeniuk said.

The Bulgarian court granted bail to Homeniuk after his extradition hearing was delayed for a second time, to Oct. 7, to give Kyrgyz authorities more time to submit documents.

 

Peter Henderson, The Canadian Press

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