Meet Austrian Entrepreneur Cevdet Caner!

The real estate investor Cevdet Caner is the youngest of seven children of Turkish migrants. He is an Austrian citizen whose family moved to Linz in 1983. He started to study business administration but dropped out when he founded his call center company, Call & Logistics Center (CLC), in 1998.

In 2001, he did an IPO with CLC on the Vienna Stock Exchange and raised €34 million with the support of the investment bankers Josef Blazicek and Mike Lielacher. CLC then took over the much larger call center group Camelot, which had six locations in Germany and 1200 employees at the time. In the following three years, the stock experienced a decline in value from five euros to 26 cents. At the end of 2002, Caner sold his shares to Mike Lielacher and his Bluebull AG. The company filed for insolvency and ceased operations shortly after.

In 2004, Cevdet Caner founded the real estate service provider Level One. The holding company’s tax domicile was on the Channel Island of Jersey. In May 2005, the Falkenberger Viertel in Berlin-Hohenschönhausen was acquired. The second property in Leipzig on Walter-Markov-Ring followed in the same year. By 2008, the portfolio had grown to around 28,000 residential units with a total value of 1.5 billion euros.

According to its figures, the Level One Group made a profit of around 130 million euros in 2006 and approximately 80 million in 2007. In September 2008, the real estate group filed for insolvency for its German property companies after banks placed Level One in receivership in August 2008. The group then comprised more than 150 European companies, including those in Jersey, London, Linz, and Germany. The insolvency affected around 20,000 apartments and 500 commercial properties – mainly in Berlin and eastern Germany. The company’s creditors were also affected by the bankruptcy.

Level One’s creditors include Credit Suisse, JP Morgan, the Royal Bank of Scotland, and British companies. Credit Suisse approved loans totaling €1.3 billion to Level One and helped Caner build his real estate empire without having any primary equity. Most recently, Credit Suisse still held 300 million euros after a large portion of the loan portfolio was securitized and sold to investors.

In 2018, Caner and five other defendants were indicted in connection with Level One on charges of aggravated commercial fraud, fraudulent nuisance, and money laundering, with damages totaling €145.2 million. In September 2020, all defendants were acquitted of all charges.

In July 2022, it was announced that Caner would become chief executive of Aggregate Holdings SA, one of the largest shareholders in listed real estate firm Adler Group, one of Europe’s largest property companies. In 2021, Viceroy Research’s short-sellers around Fraser Perring uncovered the first irregularities in Adler Group’s balance sheet and claimed that the company was a fraudulent entity. Perring has identified Cedvet Caner as the mastermind behind the scheme.

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