The shimmering Austrian investor Cevdet Caner, together with the Adler Group in the crosshairs of the short seller Fraser Perring, filed a criminal complaint and criminal complaint against Perring and other parties with the public prosecutor on Monday, according to the Berlin law firm Irle Moser.

The occasion is a damning report on Adler and Caner that Perring's company Viceroy Research published last week. 

"The criminal complaint is based on the well-founded suspicion that Fraser Perring and other participants made themselves liable to prosecution by publishing their report and in particular committed the criminal offense of market manipulation in accordance with Section 119 WPHG," said Caner's lawyer Ben Irle in a press release. The central accusation is the "publication of a demonstrably false report with the aim of illegally influencing the share price of Adler Group SA and for the own benefit of Fraser Perring and any accomplices". A civil law suit against Perring and Viceroy in Germany, Great Britain and the United States of America is also in preparation.

Viceroy acknowledged receipt of a cease and desist notice from Caner.

"Shareholders will continue to hold their breath as this letter does not even attempt to disprove our related party transaction evidence," said Viceroy.

Adler has been criticized by Viceroy and other short sellers for its debt, bookkeeping, and transparency.

The real estate company now wants to sell part of its portfolio to its competitor LEG Immobilien to reduce debt and has signed a letter of intent to do so.

Viceroy not without missteps

Perring was one of the first critics of the payment service provider Wirecard, which collapsed last year, but has also sparked controversy.

Last month, Viceroy was fined by South African regulators for publishing a misleading report on Capitec Bank Holdings.

S&P Global lowered Adler's long-term issuer rating as well as ratings on the company's senior unsecured debt on Monday.

The credit watchers put the company on “Credit Watch Negative” and justified this with a “high degree of uncertainty” regarding the final scope and timing of planned sales of assets as well as the company's “ability and willingness” to refinance short-term debt instruments. 

In light of the news, the company's 2029 bond fell 0.5 cents per euro to 81.7 cents.

According to IHS Markit, the interest in short selling Adler shares on Monday was 21.7 percent of the free float.

In September it was less than 5 percent.

The Adler shares were quoted on Tuesday around 10:00 a.m. in Frankfurt by 3.2 percent in the red, which widened the price loss this year to over 60 percent.

The company's market value shrank to 1.33 billion euros.