Swiss court sentences German financier Homm in long-standing fraud case

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ZURICH, April 23 (Reuters) – German financier Florian Homm was convicted on Friday by a Swiss court of breach of trust and multiple forgery of documents in a fraud case that resulted in millions of dollars in losses for investors.

The 61-year-old former hedge fund manager was found guilty in absentia and sentenced to 36 months in prison, half of which suspended, the court said.

Authorities had accused Homm of orchestrating a market manipulation scheme to artificially improve the performance of his funds, a fraud that resulted in losses of at least $ 170 million for investors.

Homm disappeared in 2007 from his luxury villa on the Spanish island of Mallorca after, according to the US authorities, emptied tens of millions of dollars of his own shares in his company Absolute Capital Management Holdings Ltd and caused huge losses to investors.

He was arrested in Italy in 2013 after Italian police, acting on an FBI tip, followed Homm’s ex-wife and son to the Uffizi Museum in Florence, where they met him. It is believed that he now lives in Germany.

Homm, a cigar smoker nicknamed “Steamroller” who is 2.01 meters (6 feet 7 inches) tall, had become something of a celebrity in his native Germany, both as a symbol of greed and for saving the football team. of Borussia Dortmund from bankruptcy. Part of his business was based in Switzerland.

Announcing the verdict, the Swiss Federal Criminal Court said on Friday that the fact that the offenses were committed a long time ago and that the proceedings took a long time “resulted in a considerable reduction of the sentence”.

The court fined Homm 120,000 Swiss francs ($ 131,047), but that was also suspended.

Charges of business fraud, infidelity management and embezzlement have been dropped, the court said, noting that these alleged offenses were committed in the United States and that the statute of limitations had expired.

Homm’s attorney could not immediately be reached by phone or email for comment.

$ 1 = 0.9157 Swiss francs Report by Michael Shields; Editing by Susan Fenton

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