Suntech court order sees GSF asset freeze14. August 2012 | Industry & Suppliers, Markets & Trends | By: Becky Beetz
Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd has won the first leg of its investigation into the possible fraudulent issuance of German government bonds, having obtained a court order to freeze GSF Capital’s and Romero’s global assets, and remove Romero from his managerial role in the Global Solar Fund, S.C.A., Sicar.
In addition, the Chinese photovoltaic module manufacturer announced that a court-appointed manager has been chosen to oversee the frozen assets of both GSF Capital and Javier Romero, the former manager of the general partner of the fund. The new manager will also take control of the fund.
At the end of July, Suntech announced it had launched an investigation into the possibility that €554.2 million worth of German government bonds, issued by Romero’s firm, were fictitious.
In addition to the manufacturer’s stock plummeting on the back of the news, three class action lawsuits were launched, claiming that Suntech "lacked internal and financial controls", meaning its financial statements "were materially false and misleading at all relevant times." A further two law firms have since announced their intentions to raise similar lawsuits.
According to Suntech's chairman and CEO, Zhengrong Shi, "Due diligence indicates that the solar plants owned and operated by the Fund's operating companies are in good order." Overall, the fund is said to own and operate around 142 MW of solar plants in Italy, of which 141 MW are grid connected.
Shi continued, "Our first priority is to protect the interests of our shareholders, and we are pleased that our litigation initiatives have been successful to date. The court-appointed Manager has already removed Mr. Romero from any management role in the Fund and is in the process of gaining control of the Fund's operating assets. The rest of the Fund's current management team is still in place and we look forward to continuing our working relationship with them in the future."
The investigation into whether or not the bonds are fraudulent continues.
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