Endeavor accused of misleading buyer of African gold mines

Endeavor accused of misleading buyer of African gold mines
Endeavor accused of misleading buyer of African gold mines

That follows a case filed in March by Endeavor before the London Court of International Arbitration. The London-listed mining company has said Lilium has so far missed payments totaling $107 million in relation to a deal that it expected to eventually exceed $300 million.

The dispute comes after Endeavor fired CEO of Montessus earlier this year, citing “serious misconduct” and irregularities tied to the sale of another mine on Ivory Coast. “Lilium’s suspicions that it had been misled in relation to the transaction appeared to be confirmed” by the CEO’s removal, the company said.

“Discrepancies between the represented and current financial and operating states of the mines became apparent in the aftermath of the acquisition,” Lilium said in the statement.

Endeavour, which operates gold mines in West Africa with assets across Senegal, Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso, said it initiated the arbitration case after Lilium failed to “make payment for the assets.” The company filed a second case against financial institutions working with Lilium for not delivering on letters of credit owed to Endeavour.

Rather than meeting its payment obligations, Lilium has “instead chosen to make public allegations that are opportunistic, serious and unfounded, and which Endeavor absolutely rejects,” the company said by email on Tuesday.

A spokesperson for De Montessus declined to comment.

Lilium — a subsidiary of Lilium Capital, an investment firm founded by US-Burkinabe businessman Simon Tiemtore — said it issued a counterclaim against Endeavor on April 2 for “misrepresentation and breach of warranty.”

Following an internal investigation, Endeavor said last month that it still doesn’t know who the ultimate beneficiaries were of payments of more than $20 million made at the instruction of its former CEO to an entity in the United Arab Emirates. The mining company said it found no evidence of bribery or payments to sanctioned persons or terrorist groups.

De Montessus has said he didn’t benefit personally from the payments. The former CEO said they were made to an established contractor of Endeavor, and that he was denied the opportunity to respond to specific allegations before they were published.

(By William Clowes)

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