The mystery shareholders trying to oust the board of Petropavlovsk have gone to “extraordinary lengths” to hide the identity of their beneficial owners, according to the Russia-based gold company.

CABS Platform Limited and Slevin Ltd, which have amassed a 9.1 per cent stake in the London-listed miner, filed a motion seeking the removal of the entire Petropavlovsk board and the appointment of three former directors, including the company’s co-founder, Pavel Maslovskiy.

They have won the support of Kenges Rakishev, a Kazakh tycoon who bought a 22 per cent stake in the miner last year.

The company has agreed to let shareholders vote on the resolution at its annual general meeting later this month but demanded to know the real identities of the rebel shareholders. It said all of its shareholders have the right to know who is behind the attempt to oust the board and their strategy.

Petropavlovsk said on Tuesday it had received some information about the two investors, although it still did not know the beneficial owners and likened their use of “cascading” shell companies to Russia’s famous matryoshka dolls.

It said the legal registered shareholder of CABS was Patia Trading, a company registered in Cyprus that in turn is controlled by Olena Dorati.

Meanwhile, it said Slevin was owned by Redland Capital Holdings Inc, a company registered in the British Virgin Isles, whose beneficial owner is the Lacetti Foundation registered in Liechtenstein.

“The Board is investigating further the newly disclosed entities and Mrs Dorati. However, the Board considers that this is just another level of cascading shell companies being used by the mystery owner and that there may be several further layers before the true identity of the respective controlling persons are disclosed,” Petropavlovsk said in a statement.

“The Board has noted what seems to be the extraordinary lengths taken by the mystery owner in hiding the identity of the beneficial owners from the rest of the Company’s shareholders and can only assume that there are material reasons for doing so.“

The Financial Times reported on Monday that Petropavlovsk has asked the UK’s takeover regulator to decide if CABS Platform Limited, Slevin and Mr Rakishev were working in concert to take control of the company.

Mr Rakishev has called on the board of Petropavlovsk to reopen discussions with Amur Zoloto, a gold producer controlled by oligarch Musa Bazhaev.

Mr Bazhaev agreed to sell Amur to Petropavlovsk in 2016, but the deal fell through following opposition from shareholders.

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