US-listed shares of Colombia-based glassmaker Tecnoglass tanked more than 40 percent Thursday morning after a notorious short-seller issued a new report accusing the company of being tied to the infamous Cali cartel.
The $1 billion Florida-focused company’s stock has been among the best performing this year, up nearly 390 percent since Jan. 1., largely thanks to a pandemic-driven South Florida real estate boom.
But Hindenburg Research, which on Thursday disclosed a bet against the stock, claimed the stock’s rally has not only been built on fraudulent figures — but it is linked to a Colombian drug cartel.
Tecnoglass was founded in 1984 by brothers Jose Daes and Christian Daes, who now serve as CEO and COO, the investment research firm said in a report.
The company then went public in 2013 through a SPAC merger with New York-based Andina Acquisition Corporation.
Hindenburg, which said its report is based on a months-long investigation, said that in 1996, US criminal prosecutors filed charges against the Daes brothers, alleging the two served as “managers and operators” of the Cali cartel — helping “smuggle weapons and more than 200 tons of cocaine, and laundered money.”
“Warrants were issued for CEO Jose Daes’ arrest and he was declared a fugitive,” Hindenburg said in its report.
Three years later, Jose Daes was imprisoned in Colombia “over separate allegations of illicit enrichment after prosecutors found checks paid to a Tecnoglass subsidiary by front companies controlled by the head of the Cali cartel,” the Hindenburg report goes on.
The charges “were later dismissed or disposed of in a mostly sealed court docket,” the firm said.
Then in 2004, CEO Jose Daes “was shot in the head and neck during a botched assassination attempt, later attributed to a right-wing paramilitary warlord who believed Daes was taking too many corrupt contracts from the local mayor,” Hindenburg charged.
After authorities began to crack down on the Cali cartel in Colombia, family members of people allegedly responsible for laundering money for a successor cocaine trafficking cartel appeared as “key early shareholders in Tecnoglass and the Daes’ related manufacturing business.”
Before Tecnoglass went public, around 2012-2013, the Daes brothers once again fell under scrutiny by Colombian regulators over allegations “they set up 359 corporate shell entities as part of a scheme to rig local Chamber of Commerce Elections,” Hindeburg said.
The brothers were later hit with a fine, the firm said.
Hindenburg then detailed a number of Tecnoglass’ recent deals that were struck with firms allegedly controlled by the Daes’ family members — even as the company failed to properly disclose the relationships.
Family members allegedly involved with the related business dealings include the Daes’ nephews and sister.
And finally, Hindenburg charged that the Daes brothers own a construction company that “has played a significant and under-disclosed role in the construction of the [Tecnoglass’] numerous facilities and expansions in Colombia, representing at least $24 million in building contracts.”
“Given the above, we strongly suspect Tecnoglass has faked a significant portion of its revenue,” the firm concluded.
“All told, we have no faith in the company’s financials given management’s background and the irregularities we have uncovered. We encourage its auditor to do a full review of its customer transactions and outstanding balances.”
Santiago Giraldo, Tecnoglass’ CFO, did not immediately return The Post’s request for comment.