A concrete skeleton looming over Hamburg’s harbor was supposed to be the crown jewel of a historic revitalization project, but on a rainy day this week, cranes and forklifts stood still as uncertainty deepened around the fate of its developer’s finances.

Instead of serving as a modern sentinel for the German port city, the Elbtower has become a monument to the excess of Rene Benko, the embattled mogul who pushed through the office tower even as other developers backed away from risky high-rises.

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