Len Homeniuk and Family at Homecoming

After a long ordeal in Bulgaria, a vindicated Len Homeniuk returns home. Madeleine Stephens, Anton Homeniuk, Marina Stephens, Len Homeniuk, and Jessica Stephens (left to right).

Events (reverse chronological order)

  1. 2016-09-12 Len testifies at a Congressional briefing on “Allegations of Misuse of the Interpol Red Notice Process” conducted by the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Len’s statement is available here.

  2. 2015-10-21 Len is free and has arrived safely at his Santa Barbara home!
    Len is very grateful for everything you’ve done to help him defeat these baseless charges and reunite him with his family.

  3. 2015-10-20 Len Homeniuk has left Bulgaria as a free man! He was detained on false charges in Bulgaria for a total of 86 days.

  4. 2015-10-14 The judgment is final! Len will not be extradicted to Kyrgyzstan and will be able to return to his home.

  5. 2015-10-07 The Court ruled against extraditing Len to Kyrgyzstan. The decision can be appealed within the next seven days, but if it holds, Len is going home! At the end, the prosecution agreed with the defense and said: “I think that there are no legal prerequisites under the Extradition Act and the European Arrest Warrant to extradite Leonard Homeniuk.”

  6. 2015-10-01 The Kyrgyz sent information on their statute of limitations, but provided no additional substantive information. The Court has indicated that the extradition hearing will not be postponed again. It is scheduled for October 7th.

  7. 2015-09-17 After 54 days of jail and house arrest, Len is free on bail.

  8. 2015-09-16 The Bulgarian trial court granted bail to Len. Beginning on 2015-09-18, he will no longer be under house arrest and he’ll be free to leave his apartment in Sofia.

  9. 2015-09-14 The Bulgarian trial court postponed the date of the extradition hearing for a second time to give the Kyrgyz more time to provide documentation. The new hearing is scheduled for 2015-10-07 at 13:30 EEST in Vidin, Bulgaria.

  10. 2015-09-11 Trial date set for 2015-09-16 at 13:30 EEST in Vidin, Bulgaria. Bulgarian time is +0300 UTC.

  11. 2015-09-03 Bulgarian Court of Appeals in Sofia refused to change the bail and left Len under house arrest.

  12. 2015-08-27 Bulgarian court said that it received insufficient documentation for the request for extradition by the Kyrgyz and gives them until September 10th to submit evidence supporting their allegations. The hearing on extradition is postponed until September 16th. Len is released from prison and to remain under house arrest in Sofia.

  13. 2015-08-26 Trial date set for 2015-08-27 at 10:00 EEST. Bulgarian time is +0300 UTC.

  14. 2015-08-25 In the early morning, Len is transported from Sofia to Vidin, Bulgaria. Len is in prison in Vidin, Bulgaria.

  15. 2015-08-24 In the late evening, without warning, Len is taken from his apartment in Sofia, where he was serving house arrest, and placed in prison.

  16. 2015-08-20 An extradition request is transmitted from Kyrgyzstan to Bulgaria. While extradition requests are generally long and complex documents, this one is six pages in length.

  17. 2015-08-07 Len released from custody and is staying under house arrest in a small apartment in Sofia, Bulgaria.

  18. 2015-08-06 Appeal granted for Len to be confined to house arrest.

  19. 2015-07-29 Len is denied bail and is considered a flight risk because he doesn't have ties to Bulgaria. He continues to be imprisoned in Vidin, Bulgaria, on a 30 day temporary arrest pending an extradition hearing.

  20. 2015-07-27 Traveling on a river cruise vacation with his family, Len is arrested at the Bulgarian border when an Interpol Red Notice — an international arrest warrant issued by Kyrgyzstan — comes up. All the Red Notice says is that he's wanted for “involvement in corruption” with no further facts. The Bulgarian authorities imprison Len in Vidin, Bulgaria.

Brief Version of What Happened

Len Homeniuk, 68, is an American/Canadian retired geologist and businessman who was caught up in a nightmare in Bulgaria.

Len was charged with “involvement in corruption” by the Kyrgyzstan authorities. But he was absolutely innocent. A longer summary of the facts underlying these false charges are outlined below.

Len, on a river cruise with his family, was first arrested in Bulgaria on July 27th, and then imprisoned for 11 days before being granted bail. After that, he had been living under house arrest in a small apartment until he was rearrested without notice in the middle of the night on August 24th and thrown into jail in the town of Vidin. After several court hearings, the Bulgarian Court ruled in Len’s favor and released him. On October 21st, Len arrived back home to Santa Barbara, California, free and vindicated.

Why was a respected American/Canadian geologist and retired businessman arrested in Bulgaria? Working for Cameco, a large Canadian mining company, Len presided over the development of the successful Kumtor Gold Mine in Kyrgyzstan. The Kyrgyz government issued an international arrest warrant for general allegations of “involvement in corruption.” Those allegations relate to a 2003-2004 restructure of the Kumtor Gold Mine ownership where Kyrgyzstan traded its interest in the Kumtor Mine in exchange primarily for stock in Centerra Gold Inc., which was then listed on the Canadian TMX stock exchange as part of an initial public offering. (See the IPO Prospectus which gives extensive detail on the restructure transaction).

This was as far from a back-room deal as one can get. The restructure was a large and important transaction to the Kyrgyz government — the Kumtor Gold Mine is a significant part of Kyrgyzstan’s economy. The restructure took years to negotiate, involved teams of lawyers for each of the participants, included a number of international banks and development agencies, and was approved by a Decree of the Government of Kyrgyzstan, and signed into law by its president. The Minister of Justice for Kyrgyzstan wrote a legal opinion confirming that all approvals necessary had been obtained and that the deal was in compliance with all aspects of the laws of Kyrgyzstan. The transaction was audited by KPMG LLP, and scrutinized by the Ontario Securities Commission.

A former satellite of the Soviet Union, Kyrgyzstan has experienced two revolutions and many government changes since the 2003-2004 restructure agreement was made. The current Kyrgyz government believes that the government in power in 2004 was corrupt and so any deal made by that government must also have been corrupt. Now, the current government is locked in negotiations with Centerra Gold Inc. to try to increase its ownership of the Kumtor gold mine, and Len believes the Kyrgyz government is using him as leverage in its negotiations.

The rule of law in Kyrgyzstan is almost non-existent. There’s no way that Len could get anything close to a fair trial in Kyrgyzstan. In fact, they regularly torture prisoners to extract confessions. See the UN report:

“[T]he Special Rapporteur concludes that the use of torture and ill-treatment to extract confessions remains widespread. There is a serious lack of sufficiently speedy, thorough and impartial investigation into allegations of torture and ill-treatment. The general conditions in most places of detention visited amount to inhuman and degrading treatment.”

2012-02-21 UN Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Addendum: Mission to Kyrgyzstan

No foreign businessman could have made any deal in 2003 without being charged criminally now. No matter what Len Homeniuk did, no matter how transparent the deal, no matter how many people in the government approved it, no matter how scrupulous he was in its execution to avoid even the faintest perception of illegality, he would still have faced these types of charges.

Thank you for helping us prevent an outrageous miscarriage of justice against an innocent man!

Some Comments from the Petition

  • Valeria Marinova SOFIA, BULGARIA No one should remain indifferent before a blatant travesty of justice!

  • Steven Sweeney SANTA BARBARA, CA Kyrgyzstan is a corrupt government and has no business pointing the finger at anybody. Homeniuk is being used as a pawn and should be freed.

  • Katherine Lai NEWPORT BEACH, CA Sending love and prayers to Maddy and her family!

  • Lauren Silvers DENVER, CO I’m appalled that he is being held still.

  • Katherine Green LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM I know this family well whilst growing up and Len is a great guy who doesn’t deserve this. Please free him!

  • Zhenya Habibova CALGARY, CANADA Len is a person of integrity and high moral standards and had proved with his carrier and life that he is not to be treated as a criminal. Canadian government shall take more active involvement in this case and make a stand to protect its citizens from such unspeakable actions

  • Cathy Horvath TORONTO, CANADA Len is a good man. The Canadian & US government should be doing more to help him.

  • Bill Krauss LOS ANGELES, CA No one should be used as a political pawn.

  • Richard Szwarc SANTA BARBARA, CA Len is one of the most honorable people I have known. Please intervene on his behalf and help get him back to his family.

  • Jonas Cedergren NORTH HOLLYWOOD, CA Outrageous - Where is the government help??

  • Tsvetan Tsvetanov SOFIA, BULGARIA This guy is innocent! I stand behind him with signing the pettition!

  • Юлия Шмальц Бишкек, KYRGYZSTAN Я подписываю потому что верю, что этот человек добропорядочный и честный!!!

  • Katerina Belton SANTA BARBARA, CA We think Len is innocent and he should be returned to the US.

  • Andrea Eagles LIVINGSTON, TX This isn’t right.

  • Karen Fry SANTA BARBARA, CA This man needs to be let free and to be with his family in California. He is an honest, caring and trustworthy person.

  • Richard Steinberg LOS ALTOS, CA Kyrgyzstan lacks rule of law and has failed to provide evidence warranting its indictment or extradition request. Hence, Mr. Homeniuk’s arrest in Bulgaria appears to be politically motivated.

  • Maurice (Moe) Lindsay SASKATOON, CANADA Len is a friend and long time colleague; I have known and worked closely with him for over 30 years including in Kyrgystan. I therefore know that the charges are untrue and baseless.

  • Tanya Bukhryakov TORONTO, CANADA I am sure Len is innocent. Hoping he will come home soon.

  • Anna Korn BERKELEY, CA It is not right that a citizen can be seized while on vacation.

  • Чинара Макдональд Балыкчи, KYRGYZSTAN Знаю Лена Хоменюка с 1995 года , работала в компании . Считаю , что бизнес и политика не должны друг другу мешать .

  • Selene Daswani SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE I believe Len is innocent based on the facts presented. Please do the right thing by an innocent man. Thank you.

  • Owenna Lea Bouvier Dunstone SANTA BARBARA, CA I am signing this because I want our government to help this good man in any way possible.

  • Tanya Anderson CALGARY, CANADA I worked with Len on Kumtor Gold Project in 1994-1997 as one of his main office in Bishkek Administrative support staff and later an Assistant Administrative Manager at Kumtor Site. I know Len to be a man of integrity, strong moral conviction and a kind and compassionate human being. He treated all of his co-workers and subordinates with the same respect and had always made sure that the ex-patriate and local staff were well accommodated, fairly remunerated and safe in order to perform their best in difficult conditions (high altitude, economic and political instability, high level of crime and corruption).

  • Allen Jacobs SCOTTSDALE, AZ Innocent means innocent. Please free Len.

  • Алла Недогреева BISHKEK, KYRGYZSTAN Все, кто стоял у истоков, мы с Вами.

  • Ken Oplinger BLAINE, WA Mr. Homeniuk has clearly done nothing wrong, and is being used by corrupt officials in Kyrgyzstan.

  • Fay Otto EDMONTON, CANADA I’m signing because this is unjust and inconceivable that it has gone on for so long.

  • John Turk CALGARY, CANADA Do not want to see an injustice done to Len.

  • Kimberly Crickette SANTA BARBARA, CA This family deserves to have its father back.

  • Pat Carmody EDMONTON, CANADA This is definitely a case that desperately needs some intervention. Do not let this man suffer this injustice.

  • Vanessa Palomera SYLMAR, CA He is innocent and should be provided a fair trial

  • Yvonne Wra DUNDALK, MD This man needs to be saved!

  • Maureen Levin SCOTTSDALE, AZ The allegations are ridiculous please help Len Homeniuk

  • DUANE DECKARD AUSTIN, TX This is unfair and unjust. Free Len

  • Cheryl Newman HOLLYWOOD, FL This is an unjust, horrific situation! Our country MUST help this man.

  • Janus Blume SANTA CRUZ, CA This innocent man deserves justice.

  • Shauna Viczko SASKATOON, CANADA I used to work for Cameco & believe that Canada needs to support & free Len Homeniuk.

  • Judith Carter WEST VANCOUVER, CANADA I worked at Kumtor during the mine construction, and I know Len Homeniuk. He is a kind and principled man.

    It is beyond ridiculous that Bulgaria would detain a foreign citizen simply because the Kyrgyz now have second thoughts about a deal they signed years ago.

  • Sidney Anderson ACCRA, GHANA Len Homeniuk is an innocent man! I’ve known him and worked with him for many, many years. There is nobody on this planet who is more honest and trustworthy as Len Homeniuk. This is a travesty of justice!

  • Alessio Morello SANTA BARBARA, CA Supporting the family of SBHS dons

  • Edward Kirwan COEUR D’ALENE, ID The Kyrgyzstan government is wrong in this case....the Canadian and US Governments need to get into the game regarding the issue.

  • Guldara Kirwan COEUR D’ALENE, ID I’m signing because I’m a former Kumtor employee and absolutely know that Len is innocent.

  • Terri MacKinnon SUDBURY, CANADA I worked with Kumtor for almost five years and know the value the company and that mine has added to the country. I’m aware of how difficult it is to do business in this country. Len was a good leader and served both Kumtor and the Kyrgyz people well.

  • Heather Skinner KIRKLAND, WA I believe Len Homeniuk is innocent. He is a victim of the corruption of the Kyrgyz government. He has always been an upstanding leader.

  • Fern Burg VALLEY VILLAGE, CA From what I’ve learned about this situation, Len is not involved at all in this corrupt governmental issue. He needs to be freed and returned to his family immediately. This is wrong!

  • Martha Donelan GOLETA, CA I know Len and his family and he is innocent

  • Matthew Escobar SANTA BARBARA, CA I’m his son’s football coach and just want him to see his dad again, love and support to him and his family

  • Marsha Alvarez PIKESVILLE, MD Unjust and exceptionally scary that one could go on a family holiday and end up in prison for political reasons

  • Sheldon Brooks SUN CITY, AZ Based on my knowledge of Len for the last 10 years I believe he is a trustworthy and honest person. Unfortunately he is caught in a situation by a corrupt government that is treating him as a mass murderer. They would treat an ISIS murder better than him right now. The United States needs to step in and protect him before he gets hurt and straighten this situation out. Can we get John Kerry’s office to help??

    Thank you. Please help!!!!!

  • Vitaly Melnikov NORTH VANCOUVER, CANADA I’m signing because I worked for Kumtor in Kyrgyzstan and agree with everything stated in the petition.

  • Hans Fedyk SANTA BARBARA, CA I’m signing this petition because some one is found guilty even though they are innocent and that is not right.

  • Carlile Soldo SANTA BARBARA, CA This is wrong

  • Ethan McCallum ORANGE, CA Stop corrupt governments.

  • Shaun Weston VERNON, CANADA US should step in!

  • Emily Green SAN FRANCISCO, CA For justice. This is every persons worse nightmare. Please stand up for what is right

  • Lynn Hawthorne BURLINGAME, CA This is an outrage!

  • Allie Towbes SANTA BARBARA, CA I believe Len is innocent.

  • Terry Rogers MCCALL, ID These charges are totally politically driven. I worked for and with Len during time in question. These charges are without merit.

  • juliette ashmoon VENTURA, CA len is innocent & we need to free him from his totally illegal arrest!!!!

  • Richard Nathan SANTA BARBARA, CA I know Len. He’s a first-class gentleman. This is exactly the sort of bollocks that George Orwell warned us about!

  • Robin Merrifield SECHELT, CANADA Len should be released immediately. He is being held at the political whim of a Kyrgyz government which is unfair, acting on trumped up charges and distorted facts - a bullying tactic which has made the world investment community distrust everything they say. The charge is BS, and just done (stupidly) for extortionist financial gain. The Canadian government who have full and detailed record of the long history of all “transactions” between Cameco and then Centerra, should protect its citizens who materially do so much to develop and enrich foreign countries and their citizens!!

  • M Lewis EASTHAMPTON, MA I’m concerned about this man’s human rights.

  • Carol Storen SAN FRANCISCO, CA FREE Len. The corruption is terrible and Len will not get a a fair trial- altho he should not even need one! Terrible injustice.

  • Kamila Storr SANTA BARBARA, CA I believe Len is innocent and needs to be ensured safety.

  • Bren Dahl WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA I want Len to be freed.

  • Frances Cardilino SANTA BARBARA, CA Because Len is a great person, wonderful father and a giving person. Please let him come home!

  • Will Beightol SANTA BARBARA, CA Len is my best friend’s father and he is a good man

  • Kajal Amin SUGAR LAND, TX he’s innocent! The government is corrupt!

  • Ruby Skotchdopole DALLAS, TX I am friends of the family

  • Lida Clebaner SAN FRANCISCO, CA Our innocent people are still suffering outside US!

    24 years later and seems that nothing had changed in most states of the former Soviet Union.

    Please help Len to be a FREE man again!

  • Sharon Anisfeld NEWTON CENTRE, MA I hope that, together, we can help bring this innocent man home and end this nightmare for him and his loved ones.

  • Zander Hill BELPRE, OH Based on the information here and in the provided news reports, his arrest is politically motivated in an unjust way in order to pressure negotiations with his former company. It’s putting his health and wellbeing in danger.

  • James Jackson SANTA BARBARA, CA The U.S. consulate in Sofia should file a protest immediately

  • Justin Kass WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA Len is an innocent man.

  • Carol Storen SAN FRANCISCO, CA where is the Canadian government - why are they not helping?

  • Amy Woodward OTTAWA, CANADA I believe an injustice is being done.

  • steve gomez SAN DIEGO, CA This is not right and I have heard the real story from the family here in the US

  • brian kidder AUSTIN, TX This is political imprisonment, nothing more.

  • Sandra feinn SAN MATEO, CA I am on twice removed from this innocent and persecuted man. I want to help.

  • Fran Austin WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA Lawlessness and denial of defense of innocence are the demise of the foundations of any civilization. It is the duty of our government to stand against such and apply immediate sanctions.

  • Craig Granet SANTA BARBARA, CA Len is a friend and a good man and does not deserve this treatment.

  • Katrin Grienitz SANTA BARBARA, CA Len is an honorable, honest and philanthropic man who needs to get home to his family and children! He deserves all our efforts for this nightmare to end and to bring him home sooner than later!

  • Aiden Omar BOULDER, CO Because I know Len is innocent!

  • Jamie Hodge CARLSBAD, CA Len is a retired family man who has been caught up in a corporate issue, long since passed. This is unjust and morally wrong.

  • Maryanne Greenberg TARZANA, CA This man should e able to defend himself in an extradition hearing in Bulgaria, he also should be able to have an opportunity to appeal to t he European Court of Human Rights.

  • Eric Iantorno ENCINITAS, CA I believe Len is innocent.

  • Brian Metz LOS ANGELES, CA This man is innocent. This is horrible.

  • Durward Brandis GOLETA, CA I’ve known Len and his family for years and I am certain that he is a man of integrity.

  • David Cohen PRINCETON, NJ Len’s case is shaping up to be a shocking miscarriage of justice, and there is little time to waste before it may reach a point of no return.

  • Monique Morin ASTORIA, NY I’ve visited both these countries, and the people are lovely. The governments, unfortunately, are not.

  • Natalia Klishina DENVER, CO No U.S. citizen’s freedoms and rights should be ignored like this.

  • Dana Dwire OJAI, CA I know Len & his entire family personally. Len is a kindhearted, intelligent, family-loving man who would NEVER to anything illegal. He doesn’t have a corrupt cell in his body, and he needs to be freed!!

  • Russell Daniels LOS ANGELES, CA This is an outrageous and deplorable situation for this private citizen and his family and our U.S. State Department sounds like they’re sitting on their hands!

  • Elizabeth Gaynes SANTA BARBARA, CA I’m signing because I know Len and his family personally. Please help!

  • Mark Childs SANTA BARBARA, CA I know Len and his family and am alarmed by these accusations and his incarceration. He should be home with his family.

  • Sharon Kowalski WEST SACRAMENTO, CA He deserves a trial, and it is about time our government leaders start ensuring that our citizens are protected.

  • John Lewis SANTA BARBARA, CA Len is my friend. This is patently unfair and our government should do the right thing and advocate for him.

  • Elizabeth Hartnett AUBURN, AL An innocent man deserves justice and to be at home with his family

  • Natalie Hedden NEW YORK, NY Len is innocent. He is an honest and kind person. An amazing father and husband.

  • Jean-Luc COLNET FRANCE Len est un ingénieur qui n’a pas à subir le chantage politique d’un gouvernement

    Citoyen de la France, pays de Droits de l’Homme, je demande votre intervention pour qu’il soit immédiatement remis en liberté

  • Alea Hyatt SANTA BARBARA, CA I’m signing because I know Len and he’s innocent and doesn’t deserve to go through this and neither does his family

  • Connor Gray SANTA BARBARA, CA I know Len and his family well. His daughter is one of my best friends in this world, and neither Len nor his amazing family deserve this mistreatment.

  • Dante Polvara ITALY I trust and rely on the honesty of Len

  • John Mathew RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA I am strongly believe that he is innocent and the case need to be reviewed immediately.

  • BERNARD Demangeat FRANCE Len est un homme exceptionnel, d’une gentillesse exemplaire, on l’aime tout simplement

  • Laird Fowler SANTA BARBARA, CA “Lennie” is the father of my great friend anton. I don’t know what it would be like not to have a dad and I feel very awfully for my almost brother.

  • Diego Leñero MEXICO It’s not fair.

  • Danny le BREA, CA US Government needs to step up and ensure the protection and safety of all US Citizens traveling abroad

  • Katelyn Rochefort OAKLAND, CA Free this man

  • Pearse Hobden NOVATO, CA I know this man is innocent

  • Monica Elias Calles SANTA BARBARA, CA He is an honorable person who defenetely doesnt deserved that

  • Brad Klaas SAN CLEMENTE, CA I believe in the the US constitution, providing those protections to all citizens and holding other countries to operate under the same rule of law for which the United States of America stand for.

  • Taylor Swick HERMOSA BEACH, CA This is one of my best friends’ stepdad, and Len is innocent. The circumstances are clearly injust and corrupt.

  • Brett Hodges SANTA BARBARA, CA Len is one of the most honest, thoughtful people I’ve known. He has contributed his time, money and business wisdom everywhere he’s lived.

  • Joan Cody SAN FRANCISCO,, CA Len is my brother and he is a very honest, good person and a wonderful “family man”.

  • Bob Rudnick CALIENTE, CA Leonard is a US citizen and has a right to be protected in a foreign country under US laws.

  • Pierce O’Donnell SANTA BARBARA, CA I’m signing because what has happened is clearly and completely wrong and nothing is being done about it.

  • Pierce Simmons SANTA BARBARA, CA Len is a close friend of mines father of mine and deserves to be back home with this family and not stuck in a prison in Bulgaria.

  • Gayle Adams WAYZATA, MN I know Len and his family. I’ve been updated on this situation and this is an outrageous abuse of power, both by Bulgaria and Kyrgyzstan. Len need someone from America to do something to secure his freedom.

  • Conor Scheinberg SANTA BARBARA, CA Len has been wrongly inprisoned

  • Aidan O’Donnell GARRETSON, SD Len is my best friends dad and he has been wrongly imprisoned

  • Dennis Verrett SAULT STE. MARIE, MI This is a case of wrongful imprisonment.

  • Dawn O’Donnell SANTA BARBARA, CA It is the moral and right thing to do!

  • Cecile Kosoy CARLSBAD, CA I’m signing this petition because this outrageous, unfair treatment of an innocent man who needs help from the U.S. Government.

  • Jessica Parsons HOUSTON, TX Len should be allowed due process of the law in the United States, if any wrongdoing has even been done, and not be used as a pawn for an ulterior motive in a foreign nation.

  • Michelle Fadale TORRANCE, CA Len is being mistreated and needs government help, this is urgent!

  • Jarod Winters ENCINITAS, CA Len is like family to me. This is unbelievable.

  • Sonja Winters NEW YORK, NY I know Len. This is a travesty of injustice!

  • Christian Fowler SANTA BARBARA, CA He was wrongfully charged and he’s a family friend and a good man

  • Melissa Hirsch CARLSBAD, CA He is innocent

  • Daniel Mirkin CARLSBAD, CA I am signing this because this innocent US senior citizen is suffering at the hands of Bulgarian authorities.

  • Irene Fruchtbaum LOS ANGELES, CA I love and admire Len. He is one of the most honest and decent men I have ever met. The way he was treated is outrageous and a clear violation of human rights

  • Anton Homeniuk SANTA BARBARA, CA He is my dad

Summary of Background Facts Underlying the Charges

In 1978, Soviet geologists discovered gold in the Tien Shan mountains of Kyrgyzstan. Cameco, a large Canadian mining firm, entered into a project development agreement with the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic in May 1994 regarding The Kumtor Gold Mine (“Kumtor”). Project construction began in late 1994 and was financed by Cameco and an international group of banks and lending agencies. Len Homeniuk was an executive with Cameco charged with developing the Kumtor property. The mine achieved commercial production in the second quarter of 1997 after capital expenditures of US$452 million. Kumtor produced approximately 4.4 million ounces of gold during the seven year period from 1997 to 2003. In 2002, Kumtor represented approximately 5.2% of Kyrgyzstan’s GDP, and 33.9% of total industrial production.

The 2003-2004 Restructure (the “Restructure”) was designed to answer the Kyrgyz government’s need for liquidity in their investment in Kumtor. The Restructure provided for the transfer of the Kyrgyzstan government’s interest in Kumtor, held by a wholly-owned joint stock company (“Kyrgyzaltyn”), into a smaller percentage interest in a larger venture that included several other gold mines around the world in various stages of development. That larger venture, Centerra Gold Inc. (“Centerra”), was listed on the Canadian Stock Exchange in an IPO in June 2004 (the “IPO”). Len Homeniuk, a geologist and mining engineer, was Centerra’s president and CEO. A prospectus for the IPO provides extensive documentation on the entire transaction. Len Homeniuk in 2004 at TSX Exchange as Centerra Gold goes Public

The Restructure was not some back-room deal. This was a large and important transaction to the Kyrgyz government, as Kumtor is a significant part of Kyrgyzstan’s economy. The Restructure took years to negotiate. The International Finance Corporation and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development participated in the Restructure. Kyrgyzstan was advised by the law firm of Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, and the accounting firm of Standard Bank London Ltd. The transaction was audited by KPMG LLP. It was subject to the Canadian Securities Act, and scrutinized by the Ontario Securities Commission in connection with the IPO. The deal was extensively documented. It was approved by a Decree of the Government of Kyrgyzstan, and signed into law by the president. The Minister of Justice for Kyrgyzstan wrote a legal opinion confirming that all approvals necessary had been obtained and that the deal was in compliance with all aspects of the laws of Kyrgyzstan.

Since the transaction was made, there was a revolution in 2005 (the Tulip Revolution). Len Homeniuk retired from Centerra Gold in 2008. In 2009, there was another restructure. Then, in 2010, there was another revolution. There have been many changes of government since then. There is yet another restructure agreement in the works between the Government of Kyrgyzstan and Centerra. The government and Centerra reached a non-binding agreement in 2013 that called for Kyrgyzaltyn to trade its Centerra shares for a 50% stake of Kumtor. But in October 2013, Parliament rejected the deal and demanded that they get a 66% stake. There have been calls to nationalize Kumtor. The accusations against Len Homeniuk appear to be based on a desire to improve Kyrgyzstan’s position in that negotiation. One leader in Parliament said that if they didn’t get what they wanted in the negotiation with Centerra, Kyrgyzstan needs to launch criminal charges against Centerra’s executives and employees.

The charges against Len Homeniuk are based on the current government’s expressed belief that any deal made by the government in power at the time must have been corrupt.

There have been no allegations of any payments by Centerra (or Len) that weren’t: (1) paid to the Kyrgyzstan Government’s wholly-owned stock company Kyrgyzaltyn, and (2) fully disclosed in the approved agreements and the IPO Prospectus. But, despite that, there are two specific payments that have been now highlighted by the Kyrgyzstan prosecutor as “irregular:” one is for US$4 million and the other is for US$11 million.

These are payments that went to the Government under a contractual mandate. Both payments were made to Kyrgyzaltyn, which is wholly owned by the Kyrgyz Government. Both payments are fully documented in the Restructure agreement, described in detail in the IPO Prospectus, and are mandated in the Restructure. They are both part of the consideration that Centerra as Buyer, must pay to Kyrgyzaltyn as Seller. The specifics of the first US$4 million payment is that it was an acknowledged debt owed by the Kyrgyz Government to the Buyer, which was being extinguished as part of the Restructure. The specifics of the second US$11 million payment is that it was paid to the Seller in exchange for the Seller’s ⅔ interest in an outstanding insurance claim which was eventually settled in August 2006 for approximately US$13.6 million.

The charges against Len Homeniuk ultimately come down to a government which is unhappy with a legitimate deal made by a previous government. In trying to restructure that deal, they are now calling it corrupt and want to apply as much leverage as possible against Centerra and, perhaps, improve their position in an international arbitration if they decide to nationalize the Kumtor mine.

Len Homeniuk’s contribution to Kyrgyzstan was to construct a mine that, as one local put it, is the only cow giving milk. No foreign businessman could have made any deal in 2003 without being charged criminally now. No matter what Len Homeniuk did, no matter how transparent the deal, no matter how many people in the government approved it, no matter how scrupulous he was in its execution to avoid even the faintest perception of illegality, he would still have faced these types of charges.

List of Information Resources

  1. 2015-04-30 Reuters

    Kyrgyzstan approves new PM to tackle gold dispute with Canadian firm

  2. 2015-04-25 Zentralasien-Analysen

    Kumtor: The Litmus Test for Kyrgyzstan’s Mining Sector (English)

  3. 2015-02-27 AzerNews

    Kyrgyzstan gets $ 2.7 billion from Kumtor’s development

  4. 2014-08-12 Nikkei Asian Review

    A tale of Kyrgyz gold, greed, poverty … and disaster?

  5. 2014-05-07 Financial Post

    Centerra Gold continues to navigate minefield of Kyrgyzstan politics

  6. 2014-04-17 Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

    Interview of Prime Minister Joomart Otorbaev (English)

  7. 2014-03-18 Silk Road Reporters

    Kumtor Gold Mine: A Never-Ending Saga In Kyrgyzstan

  8. 2013-11-14 EurasiaNet.org

    Kyrgyzstan: At Kumtor Mine, “No Light at the End of the Tunnel”

  9. 2013-11-07 BBC News

    Kyrgyzstan president: Key goldmine may be nationalised

  10. 2013-06-10 The Times of Central Asia

    Kyrgyzstan: New Kumtor mine deal is September 10th

  11. 2013-05-31 Al Jazeera

    Kyrgyz clashes force state of emergency rule

  12. 2013-05-31 Financial Post

    Hundreds storm office of Canadian Centerra mine in Kyrgyzstan, 55 wounded in clashes

  13. 2013-04-25 The Globe and Mail

    Centerra Gold and Kyrgyzstan: time for a marriage counsellor

  14. 2013-03-16 The Economist

    Mining in Kyrgyzstan: Gold in the hills

  15. 2013-01-29 AzerNews

    Kyrgyzstan aims to strip Canadian gold firm of tax status

  16. 2013-01-17 EurasiaNet.org

    Kyrgyzstan: Did One Walkout Shrink GDP?

  17. 2004-12-23 EITI Report of the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic

    Kyrgyz Republic’s EITI Bulletin

  1. 2015-08-12 bne IntelliNews

    Kyrgyz authorities attempt to seize influential newspaper ahead of election

  2. 2015-06-17 Freedom House: Nations in Transit

    Report: Kyrgyzstan

  3. 2015-05-18 Presidential Power

    Kyrgyzstan – Another Year, Another Prime Minister

  4. 2015-05-13 U.S. Department of State

    Kyrgyz Republic: Investment Climate Statement 2015

  5. 2015-05-05 Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

    Russian Company Wins Disputed Kyrgyz Gold-Mine Tender

  6. 2015-05-05 EurasiaNet.org

    Kyrgyzstan: Russian Firm Wins Rights to Disputed Gold Field

  7. 2014-11-30 Main Justice

    Kyrgyzstan Must Repay Latvian Businessman for Expropriated Bank, UN Tribunal Says

  8. 2014-11-12 The Yearbook on Arbitration and Mediation

    Stans Energy Corp. v. Kyrgyzstan Republic

  9. 2014-04-17 Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

    Introducing Kyrgyzstan's New Prime Minister, Joomart Otorbaev

  10. 2013-11-28 Postulate One

    Kicked Out: How the United States Lost its Key Air Base in Central Asia

  11. 2012-06-26 EurasiaNet.org

    Kyrgyzstan: Can Bishkek Afford Legal Fight with Latvian Businessman?

  12. 2012-03-05 Bertelsmann Stiftung, Gütersloh

    BTI 2012 — Kyrgyzstan Country Report

  13. 2011-12-02 The Atlantic

    Kyrgyzstan’s Promising but Uncertain Political Future

  14. 2010-11-01 The Washington Post

    Kyrgyz contracts fly under the radar

  15. 2010-07-16 EITI — Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative

    April 2010 Report - Validation of the Kyrgyzstan Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (KEITI)

  1. niebg.net Публикация 2015-10-05 niebg.net

    СЛУЧАЯТ “ЛЕН ХОМЕНЮК” и (не)възможната екстрадиция в Киргизстан

  2. БНР Публикация 2015-09-29 БНР

    Лен Хоменюк: Става дума за една бизнес сделка – съвсем открито и прозрачно направена

  3. Информационна агенция Дартс Нюз / dartsnews.bg Публикация 2015-09-16 Информационна агенция Дартс Нюз / dartsnews.bg

    Българският съд пусна Лен Хоменюк под гаранция

  4. Novinite.ru Публикация 2015-09-11 Novinite.ru

    Марина Стивенс: Арест Лена Хоменюка негативно влияет на бизнес-среду в Кыргызстане

  5. БНТ.bg Публикация 2015-09-11 БНТ.bg

    Ще екстрадира ли България Лен Хоменюк?

  6. “Още нещо” / News7 TV програма 2015-09-10 “Още нещо” / News7

    Още по случая "Лен Хоменюк"

    Жената на Лен, Марина Стивън, в интервю за News 7. Разговорът се провежда на английски език, а казаното oт нея се превежда на български.

    Marina Stephens, Len’s wife, is interviewed. She speaks in English and is translated simultaneously into Bulgarian, for this Bulgarian program.

  7. Информационна агенция Дартс Нюз / dartsnews.bg Публикация 2015-09-03 Информационна агенция Дартс Нюз / dartsnews.bg

    Съдът остави Хоменюк под домашен

  8. Aктуално / Actualno.com Публикация 2015-09-03 Aктуално / Actualno.com

    Българският съд се превърна в инструмент по казус с американски гражданин

  9. ivo.bg Публикация 2015-09-02 ivo.bg

    България се превръща в любим капан за жертви на евроазиатски диктатори

  10. Клуб Z / clubz.bg Публикация 2015-09-02 Клуб Z / clubz.bg

    Как България се оказа част от натиска на Киргизстан срещу канадска компания

  11. Капитал / Capital.com Публикация 2015-08-28 Капитал / Capital.com

    Ефектът на червената бюлетина

  1. Santa Barbara Independent Article 2015-10-19 Santa Barbara Independent

    S.B. Man Jailed in Bulgaria Allowed to Return Home; Judge Rules Corruption Charges Against Len Homeniuk Were Unfounded

  2. Financial Post Article 2015-10-15 Financial Post

    Former Centerra Gold CEO returning home next week after arrest in Bulgaria

  3. The Canadian Press Article 2015-10-07 The Canadian Press

    Former Canadian mining CEO freed in Bulgaria; court rejects extradition request

  4. Financial Post Article 2015-10-07 Financial Post

    Former Centerra Gold CEO avoids extradition to Kyrgyzstan as Bulgarian court rejects request

  5. The Globe and Mail Article 2015-10-07 The Globe and Mail

    Ex-Centerra CEO avoids extradition

  6. The Sofia Globe Article 2015-10-07 The Sofia Globe

    Bulgarian court refuses extradition of Canadian-American businessman Homeniuk to Kyrgyzstan

  7. Novinite Article 2015-09-30 Novinite

    “I would hate to see someone else in my situation,” Len Homeniuk tells Globe and Mail

  8. The Globe and Mail Article 2015-09-25 The Globe and Mail

    Interpol faces scrutiny over its global arrest alerts

  9. Novinite Article 2015-09-23 Novinite

    Len Homeniuk’s Detention in Bulgaria Brings into Focus International Policy Issues

  10. Mining.com Article 2015-09-17 Mining.com

    Ex-Centerra Gold CEO arrested in Bulgaria granted bail

  11. The Canadian Press Article 2015-09-16 The Canadian Press

    Ex-Centerra CEO gets bail after extradition hearing delayed again

  12. The Globe and Mail Article 2015-09-16 The Globe and Mail

    Ex-Centerra CEO wins bail in Bulgaria

  13. Novinite Article 2015-09-16 Novinite

    Bulgarian Court Grants Bail to Former Centerra CEO Homeniuk

  14. The Canadian Press Article 2015-09-15 The Canadian Press

    Former mining CEO's Bulgaria extradition hearing to face Kyrgyz corruption charges delayed

  15. Mining.com Article 2015-09-15 Mining.com

    Ex-Centerra Gold CEO remains arrested in Bulgaria as extradition hearing postponed

  16. Novinite Article 2015-09-15 Novinite

    Bulgarian Court Postpones Again Len Homeniuk Extradition Hearing

  17. The Globe and Mail Article 2015-09-14 The Globe and Mail

    Ex-Centerra CEO remains in Bulgarian limbo as extradition hearing delayed

  18. Novinite Article 2015-09-09 Novinite

    Marina Stephens: Homeniuk’s Extradition Will Be ‘Incredible Political Coup’ for Kyrgyzstan

  19. The Sofia Globe Article 2015-09-06 The Sofia Globe

    Controversy over Kyrgyzstan bid to extradite US/Canadian businessman from Bulgaria

  20. Financial Post Article 2015-09-04 Financial Post

    Former Centerra CEO living stressful existence in Bulgaria as he awaits extradition decision

  21. Novinite Article 2015-09-03 Novinite

    Bulgarian Court Leaves Len Homeniuk Under House Arrest, Extradition Hearing Set for Sept 16

  22. The Wall Street Journal Article 2015-09-02 The Wall Street Journal

    Retired CEO Held in Bulgaria, Faces Extradition to Kyrgyzstan

    Alternative Version
  23. Santa Barbara Independent Article 2015-08-28 Santa Barbara Independent

    Family Fights for Santa Barbara Man Locked Up Abroad

  24. The Canadian Press Article 2015-08-27 The Canadian Press

    Ex-CEO of Toronto gold mine company says detention part of effort to intimidate

  25. The Globe and Mail Article 2015-08-27 The Globe and Mail

    Former Centerra CEO back under house arrest in Bulgaria

  26. The Globe and Mail Article 2015-08-27 The Globe and Mail

    Family of ex-Centerra CEO facing deportation searches for answers

  27. Financial Post Article 2015-08-27 Financial Post

    Former Centerra Gold CEO under house arrest in Bulgaria again, extradition hearing postponed

  28. The Canadian Press Article 2015-08-26 The Canadian Press

    Former CEO of Toronto-based Centerra Gold arrested in Bulgaria

  29. The Globe and Mail Article 2015-08-26 The Globe and Mail

    Former Centerra CEO faces extradition hearing in Bulgaria

  30. Financial Post Article 2015-08-25 Financial Post

    Family of former Centerra Gold CEO fears he will be ‘kidnapped’ to Kyrgyzstan

  31. Financial Post Article 2015-08-18 Financial Post

    Former Centerra CEO ‘shocked’ by lack of Canadian action after controversial arrest in Bulgaria

  32. Canadian Business Article 2015-08-05 The Canadian Press

    Allegations that led to former Centerra Gold CEO’s arrest without merit: company

  33. The Canadian Press Article 2015-08-05 The Canadian Press

    Arrest of former Centerra Gold CEO’s without merit: company

  34. Financial Post Article 2015-08-04 Financial Post

    Centerra Gold Inc at a loss over former CEO Len Homeniuk’s detainment in Bulgaria

  35. The Globe and Mail Article 2015-08-04 The Globe and Mail

    Centerra continues talks with Kyrgyzstan despite arrest of former CEO

  36. The Globe and Mail Article 2015-08-03 The Globe and Mail

    Bulgarian authorities detain former Centerra Gold CEO

  37. Centerra Gold News Release 2015-08-03 Centerra Gold Inc.

    News Release — Centerra Gold Issues Statement Regarding Len Homeniuk


Born into a family of blue-collar Ukrainian immigrants, from the wrong side of the tracks of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, Leonard Homeniuk worked all his life, from the time he was 12. He was the first person in his family to earn a University degree (undergraduate and masters), and got a gold medal from University of Manitoba. A geological engineer and geophysicist, he paid for his education by moving and delivering furniture and spent a big chunk of his early career in the wilderness of Northern Canada. He is a self-made man, who gave back to his family and community. His biggest pride with respect to the Kumtor project in Kyrgyzstan is that it is the largest contributor to the Kyrgyz economy and provides employment to over three thousand people, supporting entire communities in the region.

Len has been an independent member of the Polymetal International board of directors since 2011, formerly serving as an independent member on JSC Polymetal’s Board of Directors since June 2010. From 2004 to 2008 he served as President, CEO and member of the Board of Directors of Centerra Gold, and was the Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Polygon Gold Inc. from 2011 to 2014. Leonard Homeniuk is also a director of Trade Ideas LLC.

He has over 35 years’ experience in the mineral sector, having held executive positions with Centerra Gold, Kumtor Gold, and Cameco Corporation. Leonard Homeniuk received an MSc from the University of Manitoba and is a member of the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers, the Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy and the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada. He is an Honorary Professor of the Kyrgyz Mining Institute.

Len Homeniuk and Family at Daughter's Graduation, May 24, 2015

Len Homeniuk and his wife flank two of their three children at his daughter’s college graduation, May 2015.