December 14, 2012
American Creek Resources Ltd. (TSX-V: AMK) (“American Creek”) reports that it has commenced litigation in the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench against 26 named defendants including Teuton Resources Corp. (TSX-V: TUO) (“Teuton”), Dino Cremonese, President and CEO of Teuton (“Cremonese”), Amanda Mullin, Director of Teuton (“Mullin”), Deborah Shilling, Teuton’s Corporate Secretary (“Shilling”) and Gary Assaly, Teuton’s Investment Relations officer (“Assaly”). American Creek’s officers Allan Burton (President and CEO), Robert Edwards (CFO) and Darren Blaney (COO) are also named as plaintiffs. The aggregate damages sought by the plaintiffs are in excess of $150 million dollars.
The court pleadings allege that after American Creek optioned the Treaty Creek Property from Teuton, Teuton, Cremonese, Mullin, Shilling and Assaly (the “Conspiring Defendants”) conspired to damage American Creek and its officers by making hundreds of Stockhouse Bullboard posts. The 78 page Statement of Claim states that “The Defendants, using aliases, have, and some continue to, intentionally publish defamatory statements…about the Plaintiffs on the [Stockhouse] Bullboards” and that these statements were “intended to severely harm American Creek by damaging its business reputation and the Plaintiffs by damaging their personal reputations and character in their respective communities, and their reputations in the investment community.”
The allegations go beyond defamation, claiming that several of the defendants associated with Teuton colluded to intentionally harm American Creek and its business. Referring to Cremonese, Mullin, Shilling and Assaly, the Statement of Claim states “Teuton and the Conspiring Defendants conspired and acted in concert with one another, and others, to defame the Plaintiffs and intentionally interfere with their economic relations, business and trade.”
The Statement of Claim goes on to state that “Teuton and the Conspiring Defendants’ conduct was unlawful and caused injuries to the Plaintiffs. The Defendants knew, or ought to have known, that injury to the Plaintiffs, including injury to their reputations and to their trade and business, would result from their unlawful conduct. Teuton and the Conspiring Defendants are knowledgeable and sophisticated in relation to business and they and each of the Defendants has a strong interest in injuring the reputations of, and interfering with the economic relations, trade and business, of the Plaintiffs. Teuton and the Conspiring Defendants have a strong interest in promoting their interests, particularly the interests of Teuton, including doing so unlawfully, at the expense of the interests of the Plaintiffs, particularly the interest of American Creek, and with full knowledge of the outstanding Litigation [between American Creek and Teuton relating to the Treaty Creek Property] and in complete disregard for the interests of American Creek’s shareholders.”
American Creek obtained Court orders allowing it to access the records of multiple companies including Stockhouse Publishing Ltd. (“Stockhouse”) and internet service providers such as Shaw Communications Inc. (“Shaw”), Telus, Bell, and Rogers which disclose detailed information about the entities behind the fictitious aliases posting on the Bullboards. Records from Stockhouse and Shaw indicate that the Conspiring Defendants, using 25 different aliases, posted more than 400 Bullboard posts from various locations including both of Teuton’s corporate offices and Cremonese’ home.
Allan Burton, President of American Creek, stated: “The records obtained by American Creek from third parties such as Stockhouse and Shaw show unequivocally that posts were made over a number of years from the Teuton offices. The posters concealed their true identities, leading the public to believe that they were not associated with Teuton. This will not only have direct impact on this litigation, but raises serious regulatory issues for Teuton as well.”
Section 6.13 of National Instrument 51-201 states in part: “Do not participate in, host or link to chat rooms or bulletin boards. Your disclosure policy should prohibit your employees from discussing corporate matters in these forums.” American Creek confirms that the TSX Venture Stock Exchange, the Alberta and British Columbia Securities Commissions and the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) will be made aware of the third party records indicating that multiple posts were made from Teuton’s corporate offices.
Based on the records obtained from Stockhouse and Shaw and findings by the Court that American Creek had demonstrated “an extremely strong prima facie case against the [defendants]” and that “there is a real possibility that [the defendants] may destroy such material before any application [with notice] could be made”, both the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench and the British Columbia Supreme Court granted Orders authorizing a search of Teuton’s Vancouver and Victoria offices and of Cremonese’s residence. On December 12 and 13, 2012, a search team comprised of members from the Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver offices of KPMG Forensic, Inc. (“KPMG Forensic”) conducted a search of Teuton’s offices and Cremonese’s home, seizing and copying computer hard drives, external hard drives, email files, a smartphone, etc. The evidence preserved by KPMG Forensic will be used to further prosecute the case against Teuton, Cremonese, and the other Conspiring Defendants.
The court also ordered Google, Microsoft (Hotmail), Yahoo, Shaw, Telus, and others to preserve the contents and subscriber information of dozens of email accounts used by the Conspiring Defendants, so as to prevent any of the Defendants from tampering with or destroying evidence.
American Creek is in the process of obtaining further documents to identify any additional aliases used by Teuton, the Conspiring Defendants, and any other individuals who have posted defamatory comments on the Bullboards and on other social media sites, including investor chat/blog sites, in order to name them as defendants to this lawsuit as that information becomes available.
Burton also stated “This case will set a precedent in our industry. The regulators will not have seen anything of this magnitude. The internet is the new Wild West. It is amazing what people will do behind the cloak of anonymity. Illegal and abusive use of the internet by not only investors, but by officers, directors and promoters of publicly traded companies, puts the entire investment community at risk. The TSX Venture Exchange has made it very clear that it has no tolerance for improper use of the internet by publicly listed companies. I have no doubt that the other regulators, such as the Securities Commissions and IIROC, will have the same attitude. I think the public will demand that the regulators deal with such abuse very seriously.”
Legal documents including the Statement of Claim and documents from Stockhouse, Shaw, etc. will be posted on the American Creek website as soon as possible.
American Creek notes that on December 13, 2012 at 8:46 a.m. Eastern, Teuton issued a press release relating to the defamation / conspiracy law suit (the “Teuton December 13 Press Release”). On November 22, 2012 Justice A. D. MacLeod granted an order enjoining and restraining the defendants, including Teuton, from advising anyone (other than legal counsel) of, amongst other things, “the existence of the proceedings”. This Order was still effective when Teuton issued the Teuton December 13 Press Release in breach of Justice MacLeod’s Order.
It should be noted that the litigation commenced in the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench and discussed above is a separate and distinct claim from the action commenced in 2010 in the British Columbia Supreme Court. American Creek will continue to move forward the prior litigation with Teuton regarding the Treaty Creek Property, which has a trial date set for April 22, 2013. American Creek remains confident that the Court will confirm its 51% interest in the Treaty Creek claims.
The Treaty Creek Property is contiguous with Seabridge Gold Inc.’s (TSX:SEA, NYSE:SA) world-class KSM project and in close proximity to Pretium Resources Inc.’s (TSX:PVG, NYSE:PVG) Snowfield and Brucejack (Valley of the Kings) deposits. In addition, Seabridge proposes to construct 16 km twin tunnels across the Treaty Creek Property, which could prove highly beneficial to American Creek and its shareholders.
American Creek Resources Ltd. is a Canadian junior mineral exploration company focused on the acquisition, exploration and development of mineral deposits within the Province of British Columbia, Canada.
Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.