Pensioner pursues Bowleven

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The Independent Online

A pensioner who claims he is owed at least a 19 per cent stake in Bowleven, the AIM-listed oil and gas company, has repeated his allegations to Vitol, the company's new partner. Bowleven announced the deal on Wednesday whereby Vitol is to take a 25 per cent stake in an exploration and production permit in Cameroon, in exchange for $100m (£60.5m) funding.

Peter Garnham, 73, who founded EurOil, Bowleven's main subsidiary, in the 1990s, sent emails to Vitol's chief executive, Ian Taylor, and managing director, David Fransen, within hours of the announcement. Mr Garnham believes he unfairly lost his shares in 1997, though Bowleven denies the allegations.

A Vitol spokesman said: "Vitol has conducted the appropriate due diligence and is satisfied that Bowleven is the legal and beneficial owner of 100 per cent of the shares in EurOil."

Mr Garnham said he is pursuing his claim in the Cameroon courts, but a spokesman for Bowleven said: "The records show there is no court action either blocked, stalled or pending."