K1 Fraudster Gets More Than 10 Years

Jul 22 2011 | 12:41pm ET

Three months after his surprise confession, K1 Group founder Helmut Kiener was formally convicted of running a €345 million Ponzi scheme.

Kiener, who had loudly, repeatedly and, at times, threateningly, proclaimed his innocence since his arrest in 2009, was ordered jailed for 10 years and eight months by the Würzburg, Germany, court. K1's accountant, identified only as Claus Z., was also convicted and sentenced to three years and nine months in prison.

"Kiener's system only worked as long as he managed to acquire fresh funds," the court ruled. "His investors' chance to earn any return was almost zero. The case is extraordinary because of its size and the number of cheated investors."

Prosecutors say Kiener defrauded some 5,000 K1 clients, as well as its banks, Barclays and BNP Paribas, which lost €223 million on the scheme.

"My problem was that I didn't have the courage to end it all earlier," Kiener said after the sentencing. "Now I have to pay for it."

Kiener's lawyer said his client would not appeal, and that he was pleased that the sentence was two years and one month less than that sought by prosecutors.


In Depth

Dillon Eustace: The Advantages of ICAVs

Feb 11 2016 | 7:51pm ET

As the growth of alternative investment vehicles continues, global asset managers...

Lifestyle

Citadel's Ken Griffin Donates $40M To New York's Museum of Modern Art

Dec 22 2015 | 9:23pm ET

Citadel founder Ken Griffin has donated $40 million to New York’s Museum of Modern...

Guest Contributor

Hedging Against Reputational Risk in the 21st Century

Feb 12 2016 | 7:18pm ET

For investors, the first step in researching a new fund or manager is to google...