More unwanted buzz for Leamington pot producer

Medical marijuana plants seen at Aphria's Leamington greenhouses on February 19, 2016. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

A Leamington pot producer said it’s reviewing its Latin American acquisitions as high ranking executives face more allegations of lining their own pockets.

On Monday, a research firm called Hindenburg Research accused Aphria of diverting funds from shareholders and running a shell game and on Thursday it again accused Aphria of making worthless and highly questionable deals to make its insiders money.

Aphria said it’s setting up a committee to review the Latin American acquisitions and protect shareholders. It also reiterated its confidence in the process leading to the acquisition, as well as in its Latin American operations and strategy. Aphria added that it believes it conformed with all company policies and generally accepted corporate governance practices.

The Leamington company called the Hindenburg allegations inaccurate and misleading and added they were designed to profit from a decline in Aphria’s shares.

“We are committed to protecting our shareholders and restoring market confidence by confirming all the facts through an independent process to rebut innuendo and deception,” Aphria’s Chief Executive Officer Vic Neufeld said. “Until then, it is business as usual at Aphria, as we continue taking significant steps to solidify our position as a premier global cannabis company.”

Hindenburg wants Aphria to name those who benefitted from discounted shares when Liberty Health Sciences, another cannabis company backed by Aphria, bought a Florida property this year and earned undisclosed holders an estimated $5 million in six days. The research firm said Liberty audits showed that 242 of its cannabis entities were shells with no operations and Liberty paid almost $13.5 million for the land and greenhouses acquired through these entities.