• The owner of the investment company P & R is in custody. That informed the public prosecutor's office Munich.
  • P & R had sold shipping containers to tens of thousands of investors. However, a large part of the containers should never have existed.
  • The case is already considered one of the biggest investor scandals in the history of the Federal Republic.

The founder of insolvent container rental company P & R is in custody. Heinz R. was arrested on Wednesday, said the Munich attorney general Anne Leiding. The investigators accuse R. investors fraud, probably billions of dollars. The bankruptcy of the company from Grünwald is already considered one of the biggest investor scandals in German history. The company's insolvency administrator, Michael Jaffé, had revealed that out of 1.6 million containers that P & R had sold to some 54,000 investors, only 618,000 existed.

Heinz R., who took over the management again in 2016, helped Jaffé in the first few months after the bankruptcy still in the Enlightenment. The prosecutor sees him but escape and dimming.

Senior Attorney Hans Kornprobst estimates the damage caused by the non-existent containers at 1.5 to two billion euros. Criminal law could also play a role that P & R had issued certificates to a small fraction of investors about the possession of a particular container. Without the certificate, investors may never have – as promised – become the owner of a container that P & R allegedly leased to shipping companies and leasing companies, the chief prosecutor said. According to insolvency administrator Jaffé, not even the existing certificates can be assigned to individual containers.

Investors had last invested 3.5 billion euros in P & R containers

Munich Public Prosecutor's Office has been investigating several former P & R managers since May, including Heinz R. Two former directors have died in the meantime.

Investors had recently invested a total of 3.5 billion euros in P & R containers. According to the prosecutor, it is likely to be the largest fraud in Germany. At times, P & R was considered the largest shipping container landlord in the world. For years, the company had indeed been very successful indeed. However, at a time that has not yet been determined, the business model has "turned into fraud". According to insolvency administrator Jaffé, the gap between leased and existing containers has increased since 2007 because P & R has used the money raised to service the existing investors.

P & R filed for bankruptcy in spring, shocking many investors.

More than two billion euros – just gone

It could become the largest investment fraud in German history: the insolvent P & R had sold containers to investors – which for the most part did not even exist. Now the prosecutor investigates.

By Jan Willmroth, Frankfurt




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