Bre-X Executive: “Not Guilty”

The 7-year trial over the largest mining scandal in history ended yesterday, with Bre-X’s Chief Geologist, John Felderhof, being found not guilty.

Here’s the story, from the Globe & Mail:
Bre-X: ‘The end of the trail’

TORONTO — Investors burned by the world’s biggest mining fraud were dealt a blow yesterday when John Felderhof, former vice-chairman of Bre-X Minerals Ltd., was found not guilty of illegally selling $84-million worth of shares in the company.

Mr. Felderhof, 67, was the only former Bre-X official to stand trial over the firm’s collapse. He was charged with four counts each of illegal insider trading and issuing false press releases but was not accused of involvement in the fraud that saw $6.1-billion of shareholder wealth eradicated in 1997 when tests found virtually no gold at Bre-X’s much-touted Busang site in Indonesia.

Is this really the end of the trail? Maybe, maybe not. There’s still a class-action suit in the offing. And at least some commentators say the not-guilty verdict is a sign that Canada’s securities legislation is in need of revision. See, for example:

Canadian laws too weak
Bre-X case an ’embarrassment’ for Canadian law: expert

More links, different angles:

From Former Bre-X Executive Acquitted
From The Bre-X Scandal Ends: Chief Geologist Found Not Guilty
From Former Bre-X Geologist Acquitted at Insider Trial
From CTV: Former Bre-X geologist acquitted of insider trading
And finally, from the CBC’s digital archives: Stranger than Fiction: The Bre-X Gold Scandal

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