ZURICH, April 23 (Reuters) - German financier Florian Homm
was convicted by a Swiss court on Friday of breach of trust and
multiple forgery of documents in a fraud case that had led to
millions of dollars in losses for investors.
The 61-year-old former hedge fund manager was convicted in
absentia and sentenced to 36 months in jail, of which half was
suspended, the court said.
Authorities had accused Homm of orchestrating a market
manipulation scheme to artificially improve the performance of
his funds, a fraud that led to at least $170 million in losses
Homm disappeared in 2007 from his luxury villa on the
Spanish island of Majorca after, according to U.S. authorities,
dumping tens of millions of dollars' worth of his own shares in
his company Absolute Capital Management Holdings Ltd and causing
huge losses to investors.
He was caught in Italy in 2013 after Italian police, acting
on an FBI tip, followed Homm's former wife and son to the Uffizi
museum in Florence, where they met up with him.
Homm, who lives in Germany, did not attend the Swiss trial.
Homm, a cigar smoker nicknamed "Steamroller" who stands 6
feet, 7 inches (2.01 meters) tall, had become something of a
celebrity in his native Germany, both as a symbol of greed and
for saving the soccer team Borussia Dortmund from bankruptcy.
Some of his business was based in Switzerland.
In announcing the verdict, Switzerland's Federal Criminal
Court said on Friday the fact that the offences occurred long
ago and the proceedings took a long time "resulted in a
considerable reduction of the sentence".
The court handed Homm a fine of 120,000 Swiss francs
($131,047), but that was also suspended.
Charges of commercial fraud, unfaithful management and
embezzlement were dropped, the court said, noting these alleged
offences were committed in the United States and the statute of
limitations had expired.
Homm's attorney, Marc Engler, said his client would appeal.
"After Florian Homm had been accused for more than 12 years
of defrauding funds and investors as well as laundering money,
the Federal Criminal Court today acquitted Florian Homm of all
these charges," Engler said by email.
"My client is very satisfied with this part of the verdict.
With regard to the conviction for unfaithful business
management, we will appeal and are confident that Florian Homm
will ultimately be fully acquitted."
($1 = 0.9157 Swiss francs)
(Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Susan Fenton and