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By Peter Cooper.AMEC has been caught by the collapse of the German property empire of Jurgen Schneider, who fled the country two weeks ago with debts in excess of £3 billion.Amec had nearly completed a £10 million hotel in Leipzig for Schneider, and was also working on a car park. These two jobs were on a list of 11 major projects the 59-year-old developer was undertaking in the east German city.A spokesman for Amec said: 'The projects were approaching completion, and we are not overdue for a large amount.'There are two months of payments outstanding, but we understand the banks are keen to finish the projects.'Tarmac is also active in Leipzig, and owns a local contractor. But the UK firm narrowly missed winning a contract with Schneider last year, and thus avoided further problems.Last week the Leipzig mayor Heinrich Lehmann-Grube called on banks to help around 3,000 construction workers laid off since the fall of the Schneider empire.He said: 'I believe it is now up to the banks. I appeal to the banks to be aware of their responsibility. I hope a solution can be found.' An official from the German construction industry trade union said that between 4,000 and 5,000 workers would be hit by the crisis in Leipzig.Schneider and his wife are understood to have fled Germany to an unknown destination two weeks ago with £84 million.Schneider dominated the financial management of the firm, based in Koenigstein, outside Frankfurt, and its collapse was unexpected.Only two months ago its main backer, Deutsche Bank, boasted that the property insolvencies like Canary Wharf in London would never happen in Germany because of its stricter financial controls. CONSTRUCTION NEWS

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