German financier Lars Windhorst denied living a “billionaire lifestyle” while large debts remain unpaid to creditors, during a London High Court hearing where he was struggling to answer questions regarding his finances.
Windhorst stated that it was “complicated to estimate his net worth” and “difficult to answer” whether he is “balance-sheet solvent”.
The barrister for the claimant informed the court that after his client’s €172mn judgment was won against Windhorst, in 2021 the German financier spent thousands of pounds on bar and restaurant bills as well as more than €15,000 on wine.
The barrister then asked Windhorst if he “continued living a very luxurious lifestyle, seemingly without alteration” and added that it appeared he was “continuing to lead a billionaire’s lifestyle while owing my client over €130mn”.
Windhorst said to the court, “all of these activities are business related” and added that he works “seven-days-a-week” with all his expenses being client related.
“I don’t want personal debt ever again”, he said at the end of the day, when his assets in Germany, Switzerland, and Lichtenstein were examined in court. Cash and investments were found in the accounts.
Windhorst was asked to answer questions about the private jet fees paid by his Tennor Group companies and other expenses.
He told the court that “my lifestyle is very closely linked to my business and, therefore, the majority of lifestyle expenses I incur are funded by the companies in the group.”
He revealed some of his financial arrangements, including the fact that he provided a “personal guarantee” to H2O Asset Management in exchange for an initial nominal amount of liabilities around €2.5bn.
Last month a judge found Windhorst to be in contempt of court because he failed to attend a previous hearing on the case. The judge did acknowledge that Windhorst had made a “sincere apology” to the court.
Windhorst, during the hearing on Wednesday, was asked about loan agreements with various businessmen, including Nigerian oil baron Segun Adebutu and Swiss-Turkish financier Henry Gabay, as well as German entrepreneur Friedrich Knapp. He confirmed that his art collection had been pledged to Knapp’s company.
Windhorst was unable to answer any questions regarding the complex series of trusts that he uses to hold his assets. However, he confirmed that he has a wine collection of more than 1,000 bottles in his companies and watches worth over €600,000.
He confirmed in court that he does not own a 74 meter superyacht named Global. It was sold to an unknown party several years ago. He confirmed that he owns the smaller “Wajer” boat which is used to transport larger superyachts.
Windhorst confirmed that two Bombardier jets were owned by his trusts. He claimed that “people inside and outside” of his business could also use the jets. This included Manfredi d’Ovidio.