Khan Resources chairman’s death was not murder, says police
The General Police Department made a statement about the death of James Doak, former chairman of Canadian uranium miner Khan Resources Inc. The timing of his deathstirred various suspicions in international media. The Mongolian Police made a statement to clear up the rumors.
“According to an investigation at the scene of crime, no visible injuries or wounds have been found. A preliminary autopsy of the Institute of Forensic Examination stated that the death was due to disease,” stated the General Police Department.
Sukhbaatar District Police Department arrived at the 16th floor hotel room of Blue Sky Hotel after a report was made at 8:40 p.m. on April 23. The Police discovered that the man was 59-year-old Canadian citizen and chairman of Khan Resources, who had been awaiting an early morning flight home to Canada.
Although the Police refused to reveal why he had come to Mongolia as it was a matter of privacy, it was discovered that Doak travelled to Ulaanbaatar with President of Khan Resources Grant Edey to negotiate with representatives of the Mongolian government over payment of the award made by an international arbitration court against the government of Mongolia.
Khan Resources announced early on Thursday, before the news of Doak’s death, that it was seeking an “amicable way” to collect the 104 million USD awarded by an international arbitration tribunal on March 2. The compensation included 80 million USD as base amount, interest from July 2009, and additional 9.1 million USD of costs awarded in Khan Resources’ favor.
“In respect of international arbitration, Doak and I and the board had developed a clear and consistent strategy for settlement of the award and for obtaining value for the shareholder. That strategy will not change one iota as a result of Jim’s passing,” said Grant Edey, the President of Khan Resources, in a statement.
In an interview with a Globe and Mail reporter given days before travelling to Ulaanbaatar, Doak revealed that he wasn’t optimistic about the outcome of the discussions to take place in Mongolia and that the company had taken steps to enforce its right to compensation. According to Globe and Mail, Doak notified that Khan Resources had hired an unidentified company that specialized in collecting delinquent government debts by seizing assets, such as airplanes or ships temporarily located outside the country.
“These are experienced people, we will get our money,” he said.
Doak became ill hours after talks started in Ulaanbaatar on the day prior to his death, according to a person who declined to be identified. He cancelled a dinner plan with Grant Edey and returned to his hotel room to rest before his flight back to Canada the next day. Later, Doak was found dead without vital signs by a hotel staff.
The timing of Doak’s death so soon after negotiations started was initially perceived as suspicious by some company officials and investors, as reported by Globe and Mail. The report continued saying that some family members and friends stated the possibility that Doak, a diabetic, may have died from natural causes.
“This is a very difficult and emotional situation for everyone and we have yet to get all of the answers. But, at this time, Jim’s death does appear to have been a result of natural causes,” claimed David McAusland, a Khan Resources Director and long-term friend of Doak’s.
Julian Dierkes, professor at the Institute for Asian Research at the University of British Columbia, said that although the timing of Mr. Doaks death is “eerie,” he does not suspect foul play.
“There isn’t a history of targeted violence in Mongolia, neither domestically, nor towards foreigners.”
The Institute of Forensic Examination is currently conducting a full autopsy on Doak. The General Police of Mongolia stated that a detailed analysis of the full autopsy will be released in 10 days. The UB Post will report more on this story once the full autopsy report is released.
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