Sino-Forest's investigation into fraud claims omits valuation of timber assets, company confirms, will finish by year-end before completion of separate report on timber values

LOS ANGELES , December 2, 2011 () – Sino-Forest Corp.'s special investigation into claims of fraud at the company, costing US$35 million and taking five months, will not include an independent assessment of the value of timber the Chinese company has said it owns, The Wall Street Journal reported Nov. 25.

The valuation of company assets will not be finished by the end of 2011, when the investigation finishes, said a Sino-Forest spokesperson. A report on timber values is expected in early 2012.

Sino-Forest said in late November that a special committee of its board of directors announced in a report that it found no fraud at the firm. The committee said it intended to complete its investigation by the end of 2011, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Earlier in 2011, a short-seller, Muddy Waters, alleged that the company did not own all the timberland it claimed, and Sino-Forest shares dropped 65%. Investors remain concerned about what the trees are worth.

After the board committee finished its investigation, it said in November that the allegations by Muddy Waters were wrong and that Sino-Forest owned all the timber and cash shown in its books.

Company managers said earlier last month that they hoped Ontario regulators would lift an August ban on trading in Sino-Forest shares in late January.

The primary source of this article is The Wall Street Journal, New York, on Nov. 25, 2011.

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