Liechtenstein minister worked for K1 hedge fund

ZURICH Tue Dec 1, 2009 12:52pm EST

ZURICH Dec 1 (Reuters) - Liechtenstein justice and foreign minister Aurelia Frick briefly worked for the sales arm of the K1 hedge fund group, whose founder is in custody in Germany pending a fraud investigation, a government spokesman said.

The spokesman in Vaduz said Frick sat on the board of directors of London-based K1 Fund Distribution Ltd from Aug. 6, 2008 until Dec. 29, 2008 but resigned after four months "because her request for more information (about K1's activites) was not really met".

Frick became a director at K1 Fund Distribution due to her activity at the time with Liechtenstein-based financial services firm Fidaura Trust, he added. Her official biography says she owned that firm.

K1 founder Helmut Kiener is suspected of fraud and breach of trust in a case in which Barclays (BARC.L) and BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA) may have lost millions of dollars and which prosecutors say featured lavish personal spending on planes, a helicopter and luxury properties. [ID:nLT702092]

Lawyers for Kiener have denied he committed fraud and sought his release on bail. [ID:nL9493033]

The government spokesman in Vaduz said a criminal investigation was also underway in Liechtenstein and that authorities there were acting on a request for legal assistance from Germany.

Swiss prosecutors said they were also investigating the case. (Reporting by Albert Schmieder, Writing by Michael Shields; editing by Elaine Hardcastle) ((michael.shields@thomsonreuters.com, Reuters Messaging: michael.shields.reuters.com@reuters.net; +49 69 7565 1266))