A man named GERT BASTEN, born March 18, 1948, purports to operate CASA REI IMMOBILIENVERWALTUNG GMBH in Vienna, Austria as a family office that manages scores of billions of Euros. BASTEN claims to be the plenipotentiary of several German, Dutch and Danish high net worth families, as well as of the KANZLER FAMILY PRIVATE FOUNDATION (Familie Kanzler Privatstiftung) in Waldhausen im Strudengau, Austria, as well as another Private Foundation domiciled in Aggsbach an der Donau, Austria. In fact, CASA REI is owned by BASTENs wife and has no significant assets, much less does it control millions or billions. BASTEN claims to be an attorney. He maintains a nominal place of business in low-tax Bratislava, Slovakia.
In late 2009 through early 2010, BASTEN became involved with an entrepreneur who sought financing for a parking and logistics company in Vienna, Austria that required EUR 10-12 million in operating capital. BASTEN represented that his investors would be interested in the project but, for tax reasons, an operating company would have to be registered in Slovakia and there would have to be separate corporate vehicles in Austria and Germany. BASTEN was introduced to ALIZEE BANK, Vienna, by ERWIN ERASIM, a former member of the executive committee of ERSTE BANK, Austrias second-largest bank. ALIZEE BANK was retained to underwrite a bond issue on behalf of the Slovak corporate vehicle, MOVING TECHNOLOGIES SK k.s., Bratislava, based upon a prospectus that relied on a business plan developed by international accounting form MOORE STEPHENS in Vienna, Austria. ALIZEE BANKs representative Mr. BRAUN sold to the banks client client KARL DANNINGER, managing director of IVS INVEST GMBH bonds for EUR 1 million based on this prospectus and based on BASTENs Letter of Intent to buy the majority of the bond issue. Based on the first EUR 1 million raised, MOVING TECHNOLOGIES started operations in March 2010 and by September had achieved sales of approximately EUR 2 million, well above budget, at costs that were actually well below budget. The plan was for ALIZEE BANK to raise EUR 3 million more over the summer and the balance of at least EUR 6 million by end of 2010. Mr. BRAUN, acting on behalf of one of the banks clients, signed off on underwriting EUR 3 million but on the investors condition that underwriting proceeds were to be released to MOVING TECHNOLOGIES only pari passu with BASTENs pledged underwriting of about $6 million.
By September 2010, MOVING TECHNOLOGIESs order books had exceeded projections but the company was running dangerously low on funds. Suddenly, BASTEN reneged on his pledge to underwrite $6 million despite the fact that ALIZEE BANK had already secured another $3 million subject to BASTENs performance. BASTEN stated that his investors no longer had confidence in the management of MOVING TECHNOLOGIES because too much money had been spent (in fact, disbursements had remained well below projections). MOVING TECHNOLOGYs manager, HARALD SUCHENTRUNK, confronted BASTEN with his promises but to no avail, and advised him that the company needed to file bankruptcy in Bratislava at the earliest. BASTEN claimed to be busy with the acquisition of a 100 Megawatt power plant in Albania and with hotel investments in Italy, the Czech Republic and Austria, and that he would deal with the MOVING TECHNOLOGY matters when he was good and ready. He never compensated his financing client SUCHENTRUNK for his legal expenses and other losses, much less for his potential liability.
Failing any satisfactory response or any payment from BASTEN, Mr. DANNINGER of IVS INVEST GMBH, who lost the entire amount of EUR 1 million invested in the bond underwritten by ALIZEE BANK, filed a criminal fraud complaint with the Vienna Prosecutors Office against both BASTEN and SUCHENTRUNK. The criminal proceeding is being conducted by Prosecutor WEISSKOPF under case number 34St284/11x. It appears that at least seven (7) similar fraud complaints have been lodged against Gert BASTEN and his CASA REI IMMOBILIENVERWALTUNG GMBH.
BASTENs ability to cause legitimate bond issues in one of the most solid Euro-based economies
through a small merchant bank relying upon business plans submitted by an international accounting firm makes BASTENs fraudulent scheme a clear and present danger for international investors.