A founder of gold miner Petropavlovsk has been removed by shareholders in a boardroom clear-out following a bitter battle over the future of the business.
Peter Hambro was voted off by investors in a crunch vote, along with other directors including former chief executive Pavel Maslovskiy and former deputy chief executive Alya Samokhvalova.
Petropavlovsk has been caught up in a row since asset manager Prosperity - which owns about 20pc of the business - accused fellow shareholders UGC and Everest Alliance of conspiring to take it over.
The company's largest investor UGC has a 23pc stake in Petropavlovsk, while Everest owns about 7.5pc. Both deny the allegation, and in turn have privately accused Prosperity of trying to acquire the company on the cheap – a claim Prosperity rejects.
At a general meeting on Monday called at the request of shareholders, Prosperity and the FTSE 250 mining group's old guard were defeated on several key issues.
Prosperity had argued that the ousted directors should be reappointed to the board, including Mr Hambro who co-founded the company in 1994.
A total of 93pc of investors backed a resolution calling for Mr Hambro's removal. Petropavlovsk insiders said he was only on the board temporarily and had intended to stand down in any case.
The board now consists of just four directors: James W Cameron Jr, Maksim Kharin, Charlotte Philipps and Katia Ray.
An Everest spokesman said: “We are delighted with the results, on behalf of not just Everest, but all independent shareholders.
“The company now has a bright future under a good board.”
Shares in Petropavlovsk closed 3.2pc lower.
The company owns and operates three mines in Russia’s far east region. It has been buffeted for years by shareholder unrest and multiple changes of ownership, but looked to have turned a corner after finishing 2019 as one of the best performing London-listed stocks.
Since early July, shareholder infighting has marred gains made from soaring gold prices as investors flock to the safe haven asset.
Prosperity said it was disappointed that combined size of Everest and UGC had enabled them to "overwhelm the ballot box".
A spokesman added: "In so doing, they drowned out... the voices of minority shareholders."
Investors also voted to trigger an independent forensic investigation into Petropavlovsk's finances after Everest accused the company's directors of suspicious transactions.
Petropavlovsk has repeatedly denied these claims.
According to the results of the meeting, 86pc of the company’s share capital voted, nearly half of which is controlled by fellow Russian miner UGC, Everest, Slevin, and Fortiana Holdings.