CALGARY, June 14, 2012 /CNW/ - The Alberta Securities Commission (ASC) has sanctioned Matthew Russell, Azteca Gold Corp.'s president and CEO, for making, and causing Azteca Gold to make, misleading and (in some instances) untrue statements in eight 2009 Azteca Gold news releases, and for acting as Azteca Gold's qualified person in the first half of 2009 when he lacked certain requisite experience to do so. An ASC panel banned Russell from acting as a director or officer of any issuer until June 13, 2017 and ordered that Russell pay an administrative penalty of $150,000 and costs of $40,000.
The ASC panel had earlier found that the eight Azteca Gold news releases "presented a highly optimistic picture of Two Mile [an Idaho mineral property in which the company had an interest], seemingly reflective of Russell's hopes and theories." The ASC panel found that Russell's misconduct caused Azteca Gold investors direct financial harm or put them at risk of such harm.
The ASC panel also found that Russell's misconduct caused broader harm to the Alberta capital market, commenting: "To the extent that NI 43-101 [National Instrument 43-101 Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects] has had the intended effect of elevating the quality and reliability of mining-sector disclosure, its breach (as here) risks a reversal. In particular, if a view were to develop that public disclosure of a "mineral resource" discovery or the involvement of a [qualified person] cannot be trusted, then general respect for NI 43-101 disclosure, and investor confidence in our securities regulatory regime and capital market, are put at risk - and with it, the ability of law-abiding mineral exploration companies to economically raise capital."
A copy of the decision has been posted to the ASC website at www.albertasecurities.com.
The ASC is the regulatory agency responsible for administering the province's securities laws. It is entrusted to foster a fair and efficient capital market in Alberta and to protect investors. As a member of the Canadian Securities Administrators, the ASC works to improve, coordinate and harmonize the regulation of Canada's capital markets.
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