Alpine Former Managers Probed on Alleged Bankruptcy Fraud

Former managers of Alpine Bau GmbH, the builder that in June filed for Austria’s biggest postwar insolvency, are being investigated on allegations of false accounting and bankruptcy fraud, prosecutors said.

Authorities are probing five executives from several Alpine units, Erich Mayer, a spokesman for the white-collar crime department at Vienna’s prosecutors office, said by phone today. The investigation follows a complaint by lawyer Eric Breiteneder, who represents holders of Alpine bonds, he said.

Alpine Bau, owned by Spain’s Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas SA, filed for insolvency on June 19 with liabilities of 2.56 billion euros ($3.4 billion). Lawyers are looking at ways to reduce the damage done to the holders of bonds issued by Alpine Holding GmbH, Alpine Bau’s parent that also filed for insolvency. The notes with a combined face value of 290 million euros were issued as late as in May 2012.

“My goal is to recover the lost funds as quickly and efficiently as possible,” Breiteneder said in a telephone interview. The information obtained by prosecutors may help with a separate action seeking compensation from the banks that sold the bonds to private investors, he said.

If proven guilty, the people investigated face as long as 10 years in jail, Mayer said. He declined to identify the individuals being probed.

FCC, based in Madrid, declined to comment on the probe.

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