K1’s Kiener To Take Stand Today In Fraud Trial

Apr 14 2011 | 1:01am ET

While in New York we wait with bated breath for word that Galleon Group founder Raj Rajaratnam will take the stand in his own defense, across the Atlantic another accused fraudster is preparing to testify.

Helmut Kiener, the hedge fund manager accused of defrauding his investors, banks and brokers of €345 million, will take the stand today in Würzburg, Germany. The K1 Group founder, who has been jailed since his arrest in October 2009, faces 121 counts of forgery, aggravated fraud and tax evasion.

Kiener’s lawyer, Achim Gröpper, told Bloomberg News that his defense team spent hours crafting Kiener’s statement, but would not reveal any of its content. Kiener has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, and another lawyer said in November that he would use the trial “to expose how greedy the customers were.”

According to prosecutors, Kiener, one of eight K1 employees or associates arrested in the alleged Ponzi scheme, ripped off some 5,000 investors as well as Barclays and BNP Paribas.

Kiener is on trial with a man identified only as Claus Z., a former managing director at Treukapital Treuhandverwaltung, K1’s administrator. Z., who has denied any wrongdoing, testified last month that he acted only on information he received from Kiener, who was able to earn “enormous trust from other people.”

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