China - Suntech Power (http://ir.suntech-power.com.) announced that the Company is conducting an investigation into a security interest Suntech received in connection with its investment in Global Solar Fund, S.C.A., Sicar ("GSF"). Based on recent review and inquiries, Suntech suspects that the collateral related to the security interest may not have existed and the Company may have been a victim of fraud.
In May 2010, Suntech guaranteed payment obligations related to finance facilities provided to an investee company of GSF in the amount of approximately EUR554.2 million. As security for the Company's obligations under the guarantee, Suntech received a pledge of German government bonds (the "Bonds") in the amount of EUR560.0 million from GSF Capital Pte Ltd., a third-party investor of GSF.
The Company's investment in GSF is discussed in the Company's 2011 Annual Report on Form 20-F, including on pages 98 to 99 and F-29 to F-30. As part of Suntech's initiative to monetize its investment in GSF, the Company engaged outside counsel to review and assist the process. As a result of these efforts, the Company's outside counsel recently noted certain facts and circumstances suggesting that the Bonds may not have existed and Suntech may have been a victim of fraud.
Dr. Zhengrong Shi, Suntech's chairman and CEO said, "We are very disappointed that this has occurred and it has the highest level of attention from the Company and the board, including the Audit Committee. There is no indication that management had any involvement, and we are vigorously pursuing all avenues to resolve this matter and ensure that we protect the interests of our shareholders."
"While we continue to investigate and take actions to resolve this matter, Suntech's daily operations will not be impacted. It's business as usual and we remain focused on supplying the market with excellent solar products," added Dr. Shi.
The Company pointed out that the findings thus far are not conclusive and that Suntech is continuing to investigate this matter. The Company has filed claims against relevant parties in multiple jurisdictions to assert control of GSF and its assets, and protect the interests of Suntech's shareholders. To the best of the Company's knowledge, payments of all scheduled obligations under such finance facilities remain current.
Suntech is currently assessing the potential impact of the suspected fraud on its consolidated financial statements. The Company noted that it may delay its earnings announcement for the second quarter of 2012 until it completes the investigation and financial assessment.
However, the Company plans to publish key operating metrics in the week beginning the 20th of August, 2012 and to inform investors of any material developments in a timely manner.
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