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Denied Profit From Green Power, Duped Prokon Investors Battle Historic Insolvency

Carsten Rodbertus Prokon chief executive 2 dpa
Carsten Rodbertus at a press conference after the announcement that the company is insolvent.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Germany is one of the world leaders in shifting toward renewable energy sources, but the country’s investment culture lags behind many other Western nations.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Prokon has accrued debts of over €1.5 billion.
    • Some 75,000 investors trusted the firm with €1.4 billion.
    • Creditor meeting rejected founder Carsten Rodbertus’ power bid.
  • Audio

    Audio

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Wolfgang Siegel believed he was doing something good for both himself and the environment when he invested in Prokon, a wind energy company offering robust annual returns. But on Tuesday, he was leading the fight to claw back part of €1.4 billion ($1.9 billion) investors handed over to the now bust firm.

At the largest creditor assembly Germany has ever seen, Mr. Siegel’s group the “Friends of Prokon” were able to fend off a last-ditch attempt to derail insolvency proceedings by the wind park operator’s charismatic founder, Carsten Rodbertus.

“I’m very glad and relieved,” said Siegel, after gathering the support of investors holding the largest amount of debt, €426 million, at the creditor meeting in Hamburg.

The vote means Prokon’s insolvency – one of the largest in German history – will remain in the hands of administrator Dietmar Penzlin. He has suggested selling off some of the company’s assets to return €391 million to investors.

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