Bloomberg News

Windreich Office Raided on Suspicion of Balance Sheet Fraud

March 08, 2013

German prosecutors are investigating Windreich AG, the country’s biggest developer of sea-based wind farms, on suspicion it may have manipulated its balance sheet.

A total of 35 police officers and four prosecutors raided the main office of a renewable energy company and four private apartments on March 5 and confiscated about 1,200 binders and large amounts of digital data, Claudia Krauth, a spokeswoman for the Stuttgart prosecution office, said today by telephone.

“The allegations will prove groundless,” Windreich said in a statement on its website, confirming it’s the target of the probe. The developer, based in Wolfschlugen, said it’s cooperating “to the full extent” with prosecutors. Windreich Chief Executive Officer Willi Balz didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.

Stuttgart prosecutors accuse “five current and former management board members of embellishing yearly and company financial statements as well as group reports by overvaluing assets,” they said in a statement. The investigation, which centers on suspicion of investment fraud, market price manipulation and loan fraud, was triggered by an anonymous complaint received late November, Krauth said from Stuttgart.

Windreich, which has about 8 gigawatts of approved German sea-based parks or sites, is seeking to benefit from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s target of operating 25 gigawatts of turbines at sea by 2030 as the country shutters nuclear reactors. The offshore wind expansion has been delayed due to hold-ups in connecting turbines to the mainland power grid.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stefan Nicola in Berlin at snicola2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net


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