Bre-X was a co-conspirator in the execution of a historical gold mining scandal after it reported having discovered an enormous gold deposit in the year 1995 that caused ripples in the stock market. Bre-X Minerals crumbled after the gold samples were found to be a fake. The scam involved a lot of stakeholders both from the management of Bre-x and other entities (Yeager, 2019).
In 1988 stockbroker David Walsh founded a mineral exploration company by the name Bre-X Minerals and in March 1993. Through the advice of Mr. Michael Guzman the geologist and exploration manager the company bought the Busang mineral site. In March 1995 it reported having discovered a huge gold deposit. The company caved-in in 1997 after being involved in a mining scam and fraud. In March 1997 the case untangled quickly after geologist Mr. Michael Guzman reportedly committed suicide when he jumped off the helicopter. After this incident Bre-X took over the headlines and was delisted in May 1997.
David Walsh was a businessman from in the field of oil, mining, and gas. He founded Bre-X Minerals Ltd. During the Bre-X fraudulent incident Walsh had been unaware or was fraudulent proceedings. John Felderhof was David’s partner and a geologist it was through his advice the company kicked off gold exploration at the Busang mineral site in Indonesia. In 1999 he was charged with illegal insider trading and he was acquitted of these charges in 2007. Michael de Guzman was a Filipino geologist and headed exploration operations of Bre-X. He lied about the enormous discovery of gold deposits in Busang, Indonesia. He was instead coating the core sample with gold from his gold wedding ring and blending the flakes in with the mashed core samples. When this fraud was exposed he committed suicide by jumping off a helicopter in March 1997, his body was found in the Indonesian jungle. Alberta Stock Exchange exploded out of this gold scam resulting in Stakeholders around the world losing an estimated $3 billion.
Suspicious investors sent an auditor who saw wounded edges of the panned gold. The geologist explained this was as a result of volcanic theory. The auditor was convinced, and stocks went up exponentially. Whenthree men sold off a portion of their options for around $100 million thatcaught the attention of Mr. Suharto the President of Indonesia that made him revoke Bre-X’s exploration license.
In March 1993 Bre-X Minerals brought the Busang site through the advice of the geologist Mr. Michael Guzman the exploration manager, he found the enormous gold deposits in Busang, Indonesia estimated that the Busang property contained a million ounces of gold and during that time the company’s market capitalization exceeded C$ 6 million. Thousands of duped investors lost a total of between $3 billion and $5 billion.
De Guzman wasn’t getting enough attention from his employer. So he formulated a plan to get rich. He convinced the world that he found gold in Borneo. He knew he needed some backup to operate this story. That is when he gets the geologist John Felderhof, Guzman convinced Felderhof that they needed an investor. He wanted an investor who was risky and wasn’t going to be keen on asking questions. Therefore, Felderhof recommended a Canadian businessman named David Walsh (Ruffell & Schneck, 2017).
Managers and directors of Bre-X colluded with Alberta Stock to execute fraud. Geologists in the field should be investigated for fraud. Geologists had the technical knowledge to determine the sites that gold can be found. It is unclear how the geologists did not report the scam. They should be investigated for any collusion with Bre-x to execute the scandal. The directors stopped buying the company’s stock after the discovery of gold in Indonesia was a clear indication that the intention was to get rich through the smartly executed scam.
Ruffell, A., & Schneck, B. (2017). International case studies in forensic geology: fakes and frauds, homicides and environmental crime. Episodes: Journal of International Geoscience, 40(2), 172-175.
Yeager, M. G. (2019). Global corporate crime and the Sino-Forest fraud in Canada. Sociol Int J, 3(1), 1-6.