Financier calls on mining firm he co-founded to release in full report into allegations of financial impropriety at business
Financier Nat Rothschild has traded fresh blows with Bumi, the coal mining company that he co-founded with Indonesia’s Bakrie family, after an independent investigation said it could not substantiate allegations of financial impropriety at the business.
Bumi said the investigation, by law firm Macfarlanes, had uncovered only “circumstantial evidence” to support the allegations. The company accused Rothschild – who co-founded Bumi in 2010 with the Bakries but is now waging a campaign to kick out most of the board – of not respecting the confidentiality of the investigation, describing his behaviour as “unhelpful” and “inappropriate”.
Rothschild hit back, calling on Bumi to release the Macfarlanes investigation in full. Rothschild’s NR Investments said: “It is regrettable that an investigation into the serious misappropriation of corporate assets has resulted in a short, bowdlerised announcement by Bumi plc which is focused more on settling personal scores with Nat Rothschild than it is on telling shareholders what happened to up to $1bn (£630m) of missing funds.”
The Bakries, who plan to withdraw their assets from Bumi, criticised Rothschild for not co-operating with Macfarlanes, describing his position as untenable and setting out a list of complaints against him.
Bumi intends to take legal action to recover lost assets and to work with the Serious Fraud Office and the Indonesian authorities. It is believed that up to $1bn is unaccounted for in past dealings at Bumi Resources, the Indonesian coal operation in which Bumi has a 29% stake.
The Macfarlanes investigation was launched in September after Rothschild handed over a dossier based on the evidence from an anonymous whistleblower. Bumi said it had been unable to identify the source of the information, which it believes was obtained illegally by email hacking.