Former Canadian gold
prospecting company. They announced a massive find of gold in the Busang
region of Indonesia
. It was "The Gold Find of the Century", of 71 million ounces of gold worth US$24 Billion. Thousands of people bought stock in the company, leading to a stock frenzy
. Bre-X was so well known that it was used in the calculation of the TSE 300
In May 1997 the Bre-X find was shown to be a complete fraud
. Core samples had been "salted" with alluvial gold
. Investors saw billions of stock valuation disappear overnight. The geologist
accused of tampering with the core samples mysteriously fell to his death from of a helicopter into the Indonesian jungle. The corporate officers denied all knowledge of any fraud, despite getting out while the stock was still flying high.
It was initially suspected that the geologist, Michael de Guzman, had faked his death or had been murdered to keep him silent. An 8 page suicide note was found, and a decomposed body
was found in a jungle swamp along the helicopter flight path that was later inconclusively identified as de Guzman. No proof exists to support a faked death
, but it is notable that in his supposed suicide note he misspelled his own wife's name.