Bumi chairman Samin Tan was alleged to have ordered non-executive directors not to ask questions over an overdue $231m (£147m) loan as a fresh row broke out at the Indonesian coal miner.
The claim was made by financier Nat Rothschild in his circular to shareholders for this month’s EGM that seeks to remove 12 of Bumi’s 14 directors.
Alleging that the current board had “serious conflicts of interest”, Mr Rothschild disclosed an email sent by Mr Tan in July last year concerning the failure by Recapital to repay a $231m loan to Bumi Resources, in which the London-listed miner owns a 29pc stake.
The Recapital fund is headed by Rosan Roeslani, a former Bumi director with 9.8pc of the shares, whose Bukit Mutiara vehicle is part of a shareholder concert party with Mr Tan and Indonesia’s Bakrie family. It was via 2010’s $3bn deal with the Bakries that Mr Rothschild created Bumi.
Mr Rothschild claimed that, before a board meeting held by telephone, Mr Tan emailed two independent Bumi non-executives, Graham Holdaway and Jean Mizrahi. Quoting from the email, his circular claimed Mr Tan instructed them not to “say anything whether openly or disguisedly putting more pressure on Bakrie/Rosan/Recapital/Bukit Mutiara. Nor will any of you say anything directly or otherwise [to] make them look bad or prove that they are wrong.”
Asked to explain, Mr Tan said: “I don’t remember that I have written that email. I have had my emails hacked. Some have been falsified and doctored. But even if I did write it, I don’t know what context it was written in. I’m not that stupid. I don’t write things like that in an email.”
The allegation came as Bumi’s senior independent director Sir Julian Horn-Smith called on Mr Rothschild and “his associates” to return “bonus shares” equivalent to a 6.67pc stake that were granted for creating Bumi. “It is wrong for failure to be rewarded,” Sir Julian said, claiming that “unlike all other shareholders Mr Rothschild is still in the money”.
Mr Rothschild denied that, saying he was in fact “£27m underwater”.