Authorities on Wednesday raided properties in seven European countries as part of an investigation into alleged accounting fraud at German property giant Adler, the company and prosecutors said.
Twenty-one sites, including business premises, apartments and a lawyer’s office, were searched in Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Portugal, Monaco, Luxembourg and Britain, prosecutors in Frankfurt said.
Some 175 German police officers took part in the raids against the group, which is listed in Frankfurt and has a particularly strong presence in Germany.
Prosecutors said the raids targeted a “company in the real estate industry,” and Adler later confirmed that it was the target of the searches.
The former Adler board members, who are German, Austrian and English citizens and range in age from 38 to 66, are under investigation, prosecutors said.
They are accused of having misrepresented or assisted in the misrepresentation of the company’s balance sheets between 2018 and 2020, prosecutors said.
They also face other accusations, including that they tried to dishonestly increase the prices of the projects.
The investigations began after short seller Viceroy Research published a report in 2021 alleging that the company was trying to “hide its true financial position, which is bleak.”
Adler at the time denied the report.
German financial regulator Bafin took up the case and uncovered a series of irregularities.
In a statement on Wednesday, Adler said he was “cooperating with the authorities and fully supports the clarification of the facts as quickly as possible.”
The company has been in crisis since the allegations surfaced, with its shares losing more than 95 percent of their value in Frankfurt.
They fell another two percent on Wednesday after news of the raids broke.