Bre-X court battles come to an end
Investors accept small payout, which ends pursuit of any further claims
Years of court battles led by investors trying to recover billions of dollars lost in the Bre-X scandal came to an end in Calgary today.
Bre-X became known as the largest mining fraud in Canadian history when its claim of a major gold discovery in Indonesia was proven to be a fake in 1997.
It’s estimated that investors around the globe lost $3 billion.
Today a judge in Calgary signed a settlement agreement following a request from bankruptcy trustees Deloitte and Touche to dismiss any outstanding class-action suits because the company says there is no money to pay them.
All parties agreed to a payment of $5.2 million to be divided among investors who applied for a settlement.
Lawyer Clint Docken, who represents some investors, said victims will likely receive only a small amount each.
He said it was unrealistic to pursue the recovery of investments.
'It's a sad day'
"The difficulty is the fact that too much time has gone on and arguably the recovery efforts weren’t pursued with the vigour they may have been pursued," said Docken.
"It's a sad day when arguably the largest fraud in Canadian history goes without any accountability.... and I think that deserves some questioning as to why that happened."
George Diekmeyer, 78, bet almost everything he had on Bre-X more than a decade ago.
He lost more than $800,000 — 90 per cent of his savings. But he said the bigger loss happened when his friend and stock broker took his own life.
"I felt responsible too for his demise," said Diekmeyer.
One of the founders of the company fell to his death from a helicopter in the Indonesian jungle, while another died from a brain aneurysm in the Bahamas.
A third executive was found not guilty of insider trading.