Vestas files criminal case involving ex-Central Europe boss

Wind turbine giant Vestas has filed a report with the German authorities regarding alleged criminal activities involving former Vestas Central Europe head Hans Joern Rieks, officials say.

Rieks, who was a long-serving employee of the Danish wind group until 2012, is currently a senior executive at Siemens Wind Power.

“I can confirm that we have reported a number of financial transactions involving Hans Joern Rieks to the German police. These mentioned financial transactions have taken place before 10 January 2012,” says Vestas group senior vice president Morten Albaek.

Albaek says: “Now it is up to the police to investigate and we will not comment on their investigations or any further on the case.”

The company confirmed the information after Recharge learnt from a German prosecutor’s office in Kiel that a report had been filed. An official at the office said that the content of the charge is being verified before the prosecutor will decide whether to open an investigation or not.

Vestas filed the case on the same day that five senior employees left the company in Germany – including former Germany sales manager Andreas Eichler – sparking reports of corruption allegations in the press.

Vestas emphasises that no criminal allegations have been made against the officials.

Layoffs in Germany usually are only possible after a certain, sometimes lengthy, period of notice. Labour legislation only allows instant dismissals in the case of grave violations of company rules, other severe wrongdoing or operational problems at the company.

Rieks left his position as president of Vestas Central Europe in January 2012 to briefly become head of Vestas Offshore, before leaving Vestas just a few weeks later as part of a wider management shake out. He had spent 18 years with the company.

Rieks subsequently became CEO of Spain-based wind and solar services company GES in early 2013, and then left later that year to become head of UNA (UK, Northern Europe, APAC) for Siemens Wind Power.

A Siemens Wind Power official said: “Hans-Joern Rieks has joined Siemens in January 2014. We are not aware of any details about charges put forward against him in relation to his former job at Vestas. We choose not to further comment on this topic."

Recharge has also sought comment from Rieks.

Vestas is also involved in a series of legal cases involving CFO Henrik Norremark, who is at the centre of a dispute with Vestas and a criminal investigation in Denmark over alleged fraudulent activity in India around the so-called “Project Dragon”.

However, Vestas says that at this point in time, the investigation in Germany does not show any link to other open Vestas legal cases.