Afren Shares Slump, "Unauthorised Payments" Investigated

By John Lee.

Shares in Afren plc have fallen by more than 30 percent on the London Stock Exchange on Thursday, following the announcement that the Board has temporarily suspended the CEO, Osman Shahenshah (pictured) and the COO, Shahid Ullah, pending the investigation of alleged “unauthorised payments”.

The company has operations at the Barda Rash,  Ain Sifni, and Simrit blocks in Iraqi Kurdistan.

The company issued the following statement to the markets this morning:

"In the course of an independent review on the Board's behalf by Willkie Farr & Gallagher (UK) LLP of the potential need for disclosure of certain previous transactions to the market, evidence has been identified of the receipt of unauthorised payments potentially for the benefit of the CEO and COO. These payments were not made by the Company. The investigation has not found any evidence that any other Board members were involved.

"No conclusive findings have yet been reached and the investigation is ongoing.

"Egbert Imomoh has agreed to become Executive Chairman and the Board has appointed Toby Hayward, currently Senior Independent Director, as Interim CEO while the investigation continues.

"Whilst the Board has no reason to believe that this will negatively affect the Company's stated financial and operational position, the publication of the Company's Half Year Results due on 4th August 2014 will be postponed. The company will announce in due course a new date for the half year results, which will be no later than the end of August.

"The Board has notified the relevant regulatory authorities that the review is taking place and will update the market as appropriate."

(Sources: Afren, Yahoo!)

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