Endeavour’s probe into former CEO finds $15m of “disguised” payments

Endeavour Mining (TSX, LON: EDV) has concluded an internal investigation into…

Endeavour Mining (TSX, LON: EDV) has concluded an internal investigation into former chief executive Sébastien de Montessus’ financial dealings while at the post, concluding he intentionally concealed payments totalling $15 million to an undisclosed third party.

The London-based metals precious metals producer dismissed de Montessus in January, citing serious misconduct as he authorized an irregular $5.9 million payment related to an asset sale. 

Endeavour noted the French executive had not informed the board about this payment instruction, adding that he disguised it as an advance installment owed to a contractor.

The company, backed by Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris, said in a statement de Montessus actions had “caused” the company to make two payments adding up to $15 million to the same third party that had received the $5.9 million.

“No evidence of bribery, or of any payments being made to sanctioned persons or to terrorist groups,” the company said. 

The miner noted the ultimate beneficiaries of the irregular payments have not been discovered, despite extensive investigation.

“Implausible and untrue” claims

De Montessus has denied allegations of misconduct but acknowledged at one point “a lapse in judgement”. He attended two interviews during the internal investigation, but his claim that the initial payment was utilized to purchase security equipment in a conflict zone was deemed “implausible and untrue” by Endeavour.

His abrupt departure marked the conclusion of a seven-year leadership at Endeavour. During his tenure, he helped reshape the company by engaging in numerous deals and constructing new mines to replace small, high-cost operations.

Endeavour made a takeover approach last year to rival Kinross Gold (TSX:K), but the target company rebuffed the bid.

The miner currently has four operation gold mines, which are located in Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso.


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