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2024

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'Investment fraud' | Company raised millions for green hydrogen production, but conducted 'no real active business', court told

Author:

Hydrogeninsight


 

More than 100 investors were duped by promises of converting decommissioned nuclear plants in Germany to renewable H2, says prosecution

 

A company that claimed to have technology to convert decommissioned nuclear power plant sites to green hydrogen production raised about €3m ($3.26m) from more than 100 investors, but had no plan to ever deliver on this business, an investment fraud trial in Germany was told on Monday.

 

Neither the firm — based in the city of Krefeld, near Düsseldorf — nor the defendants have been identified due to the country’s strict privacy laws.

 

The prosecution alleges that the company claimed via telemarketing calls to investors that it had a patent for converting former nuclear power plants into hydrogen production sites, and that negotiations were under way with the federal government in order to save up to €230m on the planned dismantling of 19 reactors.

 

But an insolvency administrator told the court, “There was no real active business to be seen”, according to the German press agency DPA.

 

However, the four defendants deny all charges, maintaining that they had no intention of defrauding investors and maintained complete belief in the concept behind the business.

 

“The concept of conversion is the solution,” the main defendant, a 61-year-old nuclear technician and head of the former company, told the court.

 

“I was totally convinced of the idea,” said a co-defendant, a 67-year-old who had held a sales role. “I have never had any doubts about the seriousness of the company. The salaries always came on time, and the staff was constantly increased.”

 

Another defendant, 50, responsible for marketing and sales, added: “I was fully committed to it and still firmly believe in the idea today. Repurposing power plants is the future.”

 

The 19 decommissioned reactors were all located near water with existing rail connections, by which hydrogen could have been transported to customers.

 

The trial is set to continue until mid-May.

 

Source:Hydrogeninsight

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