Axius Inc. Chief Executive Officer Roland Kaufmann pleaded not guilty in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, to charges that he participated in a scheme to manipulate the share price of his Dubai-based company.
Jean-Pierre Neuhaus, a financial professional also charged in the alleged scheme, pleaded not guilty along with Kaufmann at a hearing today before U.S. District Judge John Gleeson. The two men, who are Swiss citizens, were named in an indictment filed last week. They are charged with conspiracy to commit securities fraud, wire fraud, money laundering and other crimes.
The men are accused of trying to artificially inflate the value of Axius stock by enlisting a person they believed would direct corrupt stock brokers to buy shares in exchange for kickbacks of as much as 28 percent. That individual was an undercover enforcement agent, the government said.
“I’m very confident in this judge and we’ll see how this is going to play out,” said Johanna S. Zapp, a lawyer for Neuhaus, after the hearing. A lawyer for Kaufmann, Eric J. Snyder, declined to comment.
Neuhaus is being held in federal custody. Kaufmann is free on a $2.5 million bond.
The case is U.S. v. Neuhaus, 12-cr-00439, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).