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Former Chairman of Bankrupt Shipyard Arrested

June 20, 1996

BREMEN, Germany (AP) _ The former chairman of the bankrupt shipbuilder Bremer Vulkan AG was taken into custody after police raided his home and company offices as part of a fraud investigation against former executives.

Friedrich Hennemann was detained Wednesday night, said prosecutor Hans Janknecht. A court was expected to decide whether to issue a formal arrest warrant Thursday, he said.

Janknecht declined to comment further.

Twenty-nine sites in three north German cities were searched for documents Wednesday, according to authorities in Bremen, headquarters for Bremer Vulkan.

Hennemann, former board chairman of what was Germany’s largest shipbuilder, and other ex-managers are being investigated for the 1993 diversion of millions of German marks in European Union subsidies to the company’s western shipyards instead of to its shipyards in former East Germany.

Over the past few years, Bremer Vulkan chalked up huge losses because of stiff competition and because of the strong mark, which makes German goods more expensive abroad.

Bankruptcy proceedings were opened in April after Vulkan failed to reach a settlement with its creditors on a rescue plan. The company said in February it had lost about 1 billion marks ($667 million) in 1995, then in March said its losses could mount to 1.5 billion marks ($1 billion).

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