Hans Richter, the former owner of failed crane trading housing IKH and bare rental company LZV, is back in business with a new company and is vigorously rebutting all allegations of business malpractice that have been made against him.

IKH (Industrievertretung Krane & Hebezeuge) and LZV (Langzeitvermietung), both based in Marl in Germany, went into voluntary receivership in December 1999 after tax authorities began investigating and seized business records.

Insolvency practice Depping Nikolaus & Partners (DNP) has the task of winding up the companies’ affairs. DNP lawyer Zeki Kaya told Cranes Today last month that investigations were still continuing.

Richter’s new company is called IMHA. It is registered as a property company, but its letterheading features a pair of mobile cranes, either side of the name IMHA.

Richter sent a mailshot across the industry last month with a list of 44 mobile cranes offered for sale. He also told prospective customers that IMHA had about 500 cranes for sale in addition to those on the stock list.

Richter’s legal representatives, Weiß & Maykemper, say that the collapse of the companies was “an immediate consequence of the imprisonment of Mr Richter… Several of the financing credit banks had their offices searched.” Lines of credit soon dried up.

Richter’s lawyers have produced a 58-page submission rebutting allegations that Richter made illegal wage tax submissions and investment subsidy applications. They describe the allegations, in general, as “tendentious, unsubstantiated and cheap propaganda” and deny that he set up another company, AVG in Halle, just to get investment subsidies.

The defence team says that nothing sinister can be concluded from Richter’s ownership of Rolex watches, jewellery, a Dodge Viper car and a Harley Davidson motorbike, nor is his lack of a personal bank account evidence of crime.

They deny that Richter failed to cooperate with the investigating tax authorities and they accuse the investigators of not being objective.

The submission concludes by stating that Richter and his lawyers cannot understand why Richter is being subjected to such a stern investigation.

In response to an article in the February issue of Cranes Today, Richter told us: “None of my customers had or will ever have to give back a crane which he has bought from me.” He added that he planned to take legal action against Rene Hellmich, a German crane dealer, and the publication that he owns, Kran Magazin, over an article it published earlier this year.