John Felderhof, the only executive ever prosecuted in the Bre-X Minerals Ltd. gold hoax of the 1990s, has died in the Philippines, according to his Toronto lawyer.
The former chief geologist of the Calgary-based mining company was found not guilty of insider trading in 2007. The dismissal of two civil lawsuits in 2014 closed the final legal chapter of one of the biggest corporate scandals in Canadian history.
Felderhof had been accused by the Ontario Securities Commission of selling $84 million worth of stock while having information not disclosed to investors who lost billions of dollars when it was disclosed in 1997 that there was virtually no gold at Bre-X’s Busang mine site in Indonesia.
Felderhof’s lawyer, Joe Groia, says his family let him know by email Monday that he died of natural causes on the weekend. He had been living a simple life with his wife and family in a village near Manila, Philippines, he said.
David Walsh, who was CEO of Bre-X, died in June 1998 at age 52 in the Bahamas of an apparent brain aneurysm.
Geologist Michael de Guzman, who was later blamed for orchestrating the “salting” of gold core samples at the Busang site, is believed to have died after falling, jumping or being pushed from a helicopter above the Indonesian jungle in 1996.
Bre-X, once the darling of the Toronto Stock Exchange, collapsed after the discovery of a gold-salting fraud at its Busang mine in Indonesia wiped out about $3 billion in investors’ money in the spring of 1997.
Felderhof was born in the Netherlands and moved to Nova Scotia as a teenager.