Cambrian rejects Malins' resignation

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The Independent Online

Cambrian Mining, the AIM-listed mining investment company, has refused to accept the resignation of its finance director, Jonathan Malins, who was fined for insider dealing this week.

But the company stripped Mr Malins of share options worth almost £70,000 and forced him to resign from directorships at two related companies which were paying him fees of more than £37,000 a year.

The punishments come on top of a £25,000 fine for market abuse imposed by the Financial Services Authority. It had found that Mr Malins twice bought shares in Cambrian while in possession of positive inside information. He bought 50,000 shares in March hours before the announcement of a share placing which sent the value of his purchase up £6,000. A week later he bought 20,000 shares in Cambrian one hour before the publication of forecast-beating financial results. Charles de Chezelles, Cambrian's chairman, said the matter was a "storm in a teacup" and would not require Mr Malins to resign.

In a statement, he said: "While in no way condoning the purchase of shares by Mr Malins during a close period, the board, being fully aware of all the circumstances surrounding the matter, and in view of the fact that none of the shares purchased has been sold, is of the opinion that Mr Malins did not seek to gain immediate financial advantage."

Mr Malins' resignation as a non-executive director of Asia Energy was announced on Wednesday; he also quit Cambrian Oil & Gas yesterday.

Cambrian Mining - which has interests that include a coking coal mine in Canada, a power station project in Bangladesh and a goldmine in Australia - said it had cancelled 70,000 share options granted to Mr Malins at a strike price of 20p a share. Since its stock was trading at 118p yesterday, the paper value of its options was £68,600.

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