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29 Mar 2011 10:03:58

Solar Millennium negotiations fail

German solar thermal energy specialist Solar Millennium has stated that negotiations with its former CEO Professor Utz Claassen regarding the repayment of his €9 million signing fee have failed. The settlement negotiations began in May last year. Going forward, the Supervisory Board of Solar Millennium has chosen to file an action with the Landgericht (Regional Court) Nürnberg-Fürth for repayment of the full amount he received upon his appointment. The company will sue for full repayment of €9 million. The complaint was to be filed with the court last week.

In March 2010 Claassen resigned from his duty as member and chairman of the management board of Solar Millennium – just 74 days after taking up office. He referred to his contractual right to quit his office within a certain consideration period. Claassen assumed the position on 1 January 2010. The company shared that the resignation came unexpectedly for the supervisory board.

"We went to great lengths to solve all open issues. In the meantime our suggestions are no longer receiving any replies," Helmut Pflaumer, chairman of the supervisory board of Solar Millennium, said, according to a company release. "We will now enforce the company's interests through the courts." Court hearings docketed for 29 March were postponed once again, following a motion by Claassen. The Landgericht Nürnberg-Fürth now scheduled the hearing for 9 September.

The situation has become increasingly complicated. Last year Solar Millennium invited Claassen to share his compiled dossier regarding the reasons behind his resignation. Claassen mentioned in a newspaper interview that he had compiled a dossier. The company also cited that a section of media was being "deliberately provided with misleading and reputation-damaging information". One of the major issues highlighted was that in the weeks and months following Claassen's resignation, daily and weekly newspapers repeatedly and increasingly confronted the company and its supervisory board with "allegations". The company has stated its suspicion that false allegations were published in order to damage the company's reputation.

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