July 8, 2013 / 2:56 PM / 6 years ago

Rothschild asks watchdog to look into Bumi: source

LONDON (Reuters) - Financier Nat Rothschild has asked Britain’s financial market watchdog to look into whether Indonesia-focused coal miner Bumi BUMIP.L made misleading statements to the market, a source said.

Bakrie Tower, a building developed by Bakrieland Development, a property unit of Bakrie and Bros, is seen in the Jakarta business district March 28, 2011. REUTERS/Enny Nuraheni

After two years of bitter boardroom battles and a probe into financial irregularities, Bumi, co-founded by Rothschild and the Bakrie family, is now seeking to part ways with the Bakries in a $278 million deal.

The deal, first announced last year, is still being hammered out and the length of negotiations has raised questions over the Bakrie family’s ability to come up with the cash to pay for the separation.

A source familiar with the situation told Reuters on Monday that Rothschild, whose relationship with both Bumi’s board and the Bakrie family has soured, has written to Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to ask them to investigate the company.

Rothschild owns a 14.8 percent stake in the company according to Reuters data.

British lawmakers earlier in July launched an inquiry into resources companies which will examine corporate governance issues amongst London-listed companies, partly prompted by corruption probes at companies like Bumi.

Under the separation deal, the Bakries have agreed to exchange cash and their shares in London-listed Bumi for the group’s minority holding in Jakarta-listed Bumi Resources (BUMI.JK).

Recent media reports have, however, suggested that the Bakries are in talks regarding an alternative to the separation deal with Bumi, including a sale of their stake to Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Trading in Bumi’s shares has been suspended since April after irregularities found in the accounts of a key subsidiary forced it to delay its full-year results.

“We never confirm or deny an investigation,” a spokesman for the FCA said on Monday.

Bumi declined to comment.

Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by David Cowell

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