Prosecutors Seek More Than 12 Years For K1 Founder

Jul 21 2011 | 1:44pm ET

Hedge fund fraudster Helmut Kiener should spend almost 13 years in prison for defrauding his banks and investors of €345 million, German prosecutors have said.

Kiener, the founder of the K1 Group hedge fund, confessed to running a Ponzi scheme in April, after a year-and-a-half of denials and threats. He is to be sentenced in Würzburg tomorrow.

Prosecutors have asked the court to impose a 12-year-and-nine-month sentence, close to the maximum of 15 years. Kiener's lawyers told Reuters that they are seeking a verdict with a "significantly" shorter sentence.

Kiener is accused of forgery, aggravated fraud and tax evasion. According to prosecutors, he ripped off some 5,000 K1 investors as well as its banks, Barclays and BNP Paribas.

Kiener's co-defendant, K1's accountant, is also seeking leniency: He's asking for two years and 10 months, while prosecutors are seeking four-and-a-half years in prison.

Kiener and his accountant are two of eight people arrested in the case.

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