The former chair of Angus Energy breached the share dealing code and will not retake his place on the board, the company has announced.
Jonathan Tidswell-Pretorius resigned on 6 July 2018 after transferring his entire stake of 39 million shares in Angus Energy to America 2030 Capital Ltd, for “nil consideration”. The deal was part of loan negotiations.
At the time, Companies House showed that America 2030 Capital Ltd was less than six months old, with one officer, a 20-year-old Hungarian living in Poland.
Within two days of the transfer, America 2030 Capital Ltd began selling Mr Tidswel- Pretorius’s shares, eventually off-loading about 16 million. At the time, the share price was about 6p and an Angus interim statement said Mr Tidswell Pretorius still held his entire stake.
In a statement to investors yesterday (6 March 2019), Angus Energy, which has three oil sites in southern England, said it had concluded an investigation into the affair. It said:
“Whilst the Board expresses sympathy for Mr. Tidswell-Pretorius’ legal position, the investigation has confirmed that the Company’s share dealing code was not complied with and accordingly for clarification Mr. Tidswell-Pretorius will not be reinstated to the Board but remains the Group’s non-board director of operations.”
The statement also reveals that a court injunction stopped America 2030 Capital Ltd from selling any more shares and an agreement returned 23 million unsold shares to Mr Pretorius.
Angus Energy also said it had appointed Patrick Meade, the 8th Earl of Clanwilliam, as non-executive chairman, Carlos Fernandes as finance director and Andrew Hollis as technical director.
This follow news in January 2019 that a power struggle at the company had ousted the managing director, Paul Vonk, and replaced him with George Bingham, the 8th Lord Lucan.
Until a few days ago, Mr Fernandes (35) held directorships in Eclipse Strategic Security Ltd and a new sister company, Eclipse Strategic Training Ltd.
Eclipse Strategic Security describes itself as a “leading provider of onshore drilling security and logistical support services”. Its website says it provides “a tailored and measured response to unorthodox threats within the oil, gas and petrochemical sector”.
DeSmog UK reported last year that Eclipse conducted surveillance for oil and gas companies Ineos, UKOG and Europa. Through a director, it had links to the police, military and big oil.
Mr Fernandes was also a director of Eclipse Oil & Gas Ltd, dissolved in December 2015, which appears to have employed familiar names with connections to Angus Energy. On Linkedin, Mr Tidswell-Pretorius lists an appointment as a former operations director of Eclipse Oil & Gas and Mr Vonk says he was a former chief finance officer.
Lord Clanwilliam (58) is an Old Etonian former Conservative Party adviser and founder of the lobbying group, Meade Hall & Associates.
According to the Angus statement, he previously chaired Eurasia Drilling Company Ltd. He was also a former non-executive director of Soma Oil & Gas, which operates off Somalia, and the Russian gold mining company, OJSC Polyus Gold.
He was in the Coldstream Guards and began his business career at Hanson. He currently holds directorships or partnerships in 11 companies, including Meade (a Conservative Party donor), NMC Health plc and Halamar.
Mr Hollis (64), a geologist, has more than 40 years’ experience in oil and gas exploration and production, Angus said. He worked for 25 years in petroleum and reservoir engineering for British Gas before becoming a consultant, specialising in Russia and eastern Europe. He is currently a director of Muscovy Oil Services Ltd.
Chris De Goey
Angus non-executive director, Chris De Goey, is leaving Angus for a full-time managerial role in the oil and gas industry, the statement said. His Linkedin profile lists appointments including acting chief executive of Arar Oil & Gas in Turkey, managing director of Alcazar Energy Ltd and director of Xodus Group.