Since 2021, listed German real estate firm Adler Group has been under fire from Viceroy Research short-sellers around Fraser Perring. In their analyses, Adler Group is described as a fraudulent scheme that the Austrian Cevdet Canar would control. In July 2022, Caner became the head of Aggregate Holdings SA, one of the largest shareholders of Adler Group. Caner already has a wild entrepreneurial past with several bankruptcies and criminal proceedings. Here is his portrait.
The Adler Group is a hotbed of fraud, deception and financial misrepresentation designed to hide its true financial position, which is bleak. The Adler Group exists as a conduit for its shadow directors and associates to systematically enrich themselves to the detriment of bondholders, shareholders, and minority holders of various listed investments.Viceroy Research in Adler Group – Bond Villains
The Early Days
The Turkish-born Austrian real estate investor Cevdet Caner is the youngest of seven children of Turkish migrants. In 1998, he started Call & Logistics Center (CLC) in Austria. In 2001, he did an IPO with CLC on the Vienna Stock Exchange with the support of the investment bankers Josef Blazicek and Mike Lielacher. CLC then took over the much larger call center group Camelot, which had six locations in Germany and 1,200 employees at the time. CLC finally imploded. At the end of 2002, Caner sold his shares to Mike Lielacher and his Bluebull AG. The company filed for insolvency and ceased operations shortly after.
The Level One Story
In 2004, Cevdet Caner founded the real estate service provider Level One. The holding company’s tax domicile was on the Channel Island of Jersey. In May 2005, the Falkenberger Viertel in Berlin-Hohenschönhausen was acquired. The second property in Leipzig on Walter-Markov-Ring followed in the same year. By 2008, the portfolio had grown to around 28,000 residential units with a total value of 1.5 billion euros.
According to its figures, the Level One Group made a profit of around 130 million euros in 2006 and approximately 80 million in 2007. In September 2008, the real estate group filed for insolvency for its German property companies after banks placed Level One in receivership in August 2008. The group had established a network of more than 150 companies in Europe. The insolvency affected around 20,000 apartments and 500 commercial properties – mainly in Berlin and eastern Germany. The company’s creditors were also affected by the bankruptcy.
Level One’s creditors include Credit Suisse, JP Morgan, the Royal Bank of Scotland, and British companies. Credit Suisse approved loans totaling €1.3 billion to Level One and helped Caner build his real estate empire without having any primary equity. Most recently, Credit Suisse still held 300 million euros after a large portion of the loan portfolio was securitized and sold to investors.
In 2018, Caner and five other defendants were indicted in connection with Level One on charges of aggravated commercial fraud, fraudulent nuisance, and money laundering, with damages totaling €145.2 million. After 55 trial days, all defendants were acquitted of all charges in September 2020.
The Adler Group
In July 2022, it was announced that Caner would become chief executive of Aggregate Holdings SA (website), one of the largest shareholders in listed real estate firm Adler Group, one of Europe’s largest property companies. Caner acquired 20% of Aggregate for an undisclosed amount.
In 2021, Viceroy Research‘s short-sellers around Fraser Perring uncovered irregularities in Adler Group‘s balance sheet and claimed that the company would be a fraudulent scheme. Perring has identified Cevdet Caner as the mastermind behind the scheme.