Lars Windhorst faces arrest warrant for missing court hearing

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An arrest warrant has been issued for Lars Windhorst after he missed a court hearing in Germany over the insolvency of a run-down shopping centre.

The arrest warrant was issued late last month after Controversial German financier The Hanover County court, which oversees the proceedings, did not attend the April trial, according to a spokesperson.

The investor also ignored repeated requests to hand over documents and keys related to Ihme-Zentrum, a shopping mall and housing complex from the years 1970 in downtown Hanover, currently undergoing bankruptcy proceedings.

“Grandfather Wind horse failed to meet its legal obligations to cooperate in the insolvency process,” Hanover County Court told the Financial Times, adding that the investor was not present in a hearing on April 22 and did not issue an apology.

The order adds to the legal troubles of Windhorst, who has threatened with imprisonment in April by a Dutch court in a separate business dispute. According to the Hanover court, although the sponsor is not wanted by German police, Windhorst faces up to three weeks in prison if he does not cooperate in civil proceedings. The court bailiff in charge of the case has a legal obligation to arrest him and can request police assistance.

A spokesperson for Windhorst’s Tennor Group told the FT that Windhorst would answer the court’s questions, stressing that the investor “did not abscond” and that “detention is unlikely”. He added that Windhorst has filed an appeal against the arrest warrant.

The bankruptcy proceedings revolve around a shopping center in which Windhorst bought a majority stake in 2019, promising to invest millions to upgrade it. After costly renovations failed to materialize, two key office tenants – the city of Hanover and energy company Enercity – last year terminated their leases early and stopped paying rent. At the end of 2023, Hanover-based lawyer Jens Wilhelm V was appointed administrator by the city’s district court.

Windhorst has been required to hand over details about its ownership structure, payment flows and other documents for months, according to a person with direct knowledge of the arrest warrant. It was issued after all other measures to get Windhorst to cooperate failed, the person added.

Windhorst’s latest legal hurdle comes months after criminal prosecutors in Berlin ended a long-running investigation into potential violations of Germany’s banking act, sparked by a criminal complaint by BaFin, the financial watchdog.

The regulator suspects that Windhorst may have engaged in banking activities without a licence, a crime that carries a maximum sentence of five years. Berlin prosecutors told the FT that the case was closed in April due to lack of evidence.

Last year, a high court judge in London privately found Windhorst contempt of court for failing to appear at an enforcement hearing in a case brought by an investment firm linked to a Monaco billionaire.


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