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

SOFIA, Bulgaria – A former CEO of Toronto-based mining company Centerra Gold, who has been detained in Bulgaria since late July, says he’s disappointed that his extradition hearing has been delayed a second time.

Leonard Homeniuk, a Canadian citizen, has been under house arrest in Sofia, the capital, for most of the last six weeks since being detained while on a family cruise on July 27.

The Kyrgyzstan government has issued an international arrest warrant for Homeniuk on charges of corruption, which he denies.

Homeniuk’s second extradition hearing was scheduled for Sept. 16, but that has been pushed back to Oct. 7 to give Kyrgyz authorities more time to submit evidence. A judge had delayed a hearing in late August for the same reason.

“We were hoping it would be over one way or the other and to have it extended three weeks is really, really disappointing,” he said.

Centerra (TSXCG), which runs the massive Kumtor gold mine in Kyrgyzstan, has been embroiled in contentious negotiations with the government over a revenue-splitting deal.

Homeniuk, who stepped down as CEO in 2008, has said the charges are without merit and an attempt to pressure the company into signing a deal that favours the Kyrgyz government.