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Aphria CEO steps down as company faces allegations of securities law violations

Aphria Inc. CEO Vic Neufeld and Vice President and Co-founder Cole Cacciavillani will step down as the company faces allegations that its executives violated federal securities laws.

Neufeld and Cacciavillani will continue working during the transition period until replacements are appointed and will remain on Aphria's board, according to a Jan. 11 press release.

The leadership change follows a Dec. 3, 2018, report published by Hindenburg Research and Quintessential Capital Management alleging that Aphria bought assets in Latin America at inflated prices from insiders. Since then, the company's share price has dropped 17%, Bloomberg reported.

Leamington, Ontario-based Aphria is the target of an unsolicited C$2.8 billion takeover bid by Green Growth Brands Inc. Aphria in December 2018 said the offer undervalues the company, and an independent committee of directors has been established to consider any formal offer.

Aphria produces and sells medical cannabis in Canada and internationally.