German shipping is set for a massive court case in January with the founder of heavylift operator Beluga set for a lengthy trial accused of embezzling up to EUR93m ($110m). Niels Stolberg faces charges of fraud, embezzlement and credit fraud. Three Beluga associates will also face questioning during the trial, which is due to start on January 20 and could last for up to two months.
Beluga was founded in 1995 in Bremen. It quickly became one of the most high profile names in the heavylift sector. In 2010, private equity in the form of Oaktree came onboard as Stolberg’s company, which he had built up to 70 ships, ran into difficulty. A year later Beluga went belly up. Oaktree took it over and now runs it as Hansa Heavy Lift.