On Friday, the Italian police arrested Florian Homm, a German investor who has spent more than five years in hiding, and is alleged to have perpetrated a fraud leading to at least $200 million losses to investors.
Homm, who is a graduate of Harvard Business School, vanished from his luxury villa on the island of Majorca, in 2007. In an interview given last November to a German newspaper, Homm had expressed his wish to repent and compared himself to Saint Paul who finds the light and repents of the life he had formerly led.
Homm published a recent autobiography in German with the English title “The Rogue Financier: Adventures of an Estranged Capitalist.” In the book, he tells of his adventures and how he continued to escape an international headhunt. Homm has also established a big charity in Germany to serve vaccines cheap for life-threatening diseases.
However, the FBI, who tipped off the Italian police about Homm’s whereabouts are more concerned with the adventures of Homm, which he didn’t talk much about in his book.
According to the criminal complaint against Homm in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, Homm had directed hedge funds and purchased billions of U.S.-based penny stocks and then traded them among themselves and inflating their prices. This is how he inflated the asset values of his funds and obtained additional fees for himself and his company.
Homm, who is almost two meters tall, dumped millions of dollars’ worth of his own shares in his company, Absolute Capital Management Holdings Ltd, and caused terrible losses to investors.
In his home country, Homm is something of a hero remembered for saving the country’s most famous soccer teams from bankruptcy, and is also seen as a symbol of the kind of corporate greed that pushed the country into financial crisis during 2008-2009.
Italy is expected to extradite Homm to the United States.