• Austria's news in English

Glock family feud leaves millions at stake

The Local · 13 Oct 2014, 16:46

Published: 13 Oct 2014 16:46 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

According to a report in Business Week, Helga Glock and her adult children claim that in 2011, Gaston Glock Sr. cut all ties with his family under the influence of his 50-year-younger wife, Kathrin Tschikof.

On Thursday, his ex-wife and their children launched a $500 million lawsuit in federal court in Atlanta, Georgia claiming that Glock Sr. has engaged in racketeering, causing his family substantial losses.

The lawsuit alleged that the main goals of the defendants' "scheme" were to "siphon, divert, and hide monies and assets away from the view and reach of Ms. Glock."

The complaint says the Glocks, who married in 1958 and divorced in 2011, "co-founded" the gun business in 1963. According to John Smith, the attorney representing the family, Helga Glock "continues to have an ownership interest" in the company. 

"Because of Defendants’ racketeering scheme, instead of having a  15 percent interest in 100 percent of Glock, Inc., Ms. Glock now has a 1 percent interest in 50 percent of Glock, Inc.," the complaint says. 

Helga Glock's complaint is over 350 pages long and accuses Gaston and the other defendants of "hundreds of violations of the Federal mail fraud, wire fraud, national stolen property, and money laundering statutes." These violations include the alleged use of forged documents, "fraudulent invoicing," "sham royalty/licensing payments," and "phantom shipments and wire transfers" through a complex network of shell companies.

In addition to these alleged crimes, the complaint accuses Gaston of treating his immediate family members in a manner reminiscent of "the senseless and self-destructive rage of Shakespeare’s King Lear."

Helga accuses her ex-husband of hiding hundreds of millions of the family's money outside of Austria, and cheating her out of a substantial share of the global weapons maker.  In addition, a related suit alleged that soon after a stroke, the 85-year-old billionaire had an affair with a woman more than fifty years his junior.

Gaston Glock Sr. and former nurse Kathrin Tschikof.  Photo: APA

Glock started as a curtain rod maker, and despite no experience with firearms, in 1980 he designed and successfully sold the Glock 17-round 9mm pistol to the Austrian military, launching a brand that was subsequently adopted by law enforcement agencies from around the world.

Glock has generally maintained a low profile, until a bizarre incident in 1999.  During a business trip in Luxembourg, Gaston Sr. fought off a hitman hired by his top financial advisor.  Despite the hitman being a professional wrestler and former member of the French foreign legion armed with a rubber mallet, Glock successfully fought him off and survived, with the would-be hitman and the advisor who hired him sentenced to lengthy jail terms.

In 2008, Gaston Sr. suffered a stroke at the age of 79.  While in recovery, he fired Helga, daughter Brigitte and sons Gaston Jr. and Robert from paid jobs in his company, and began to change family trusts to exclude them from ownership.  He divorced Helga, and married Tschikof, one of the nurses taking care of him after his stroke.

In court filings in the U.S., Gaston Sr. has said that he bears Helga and their children no ill will. Financially they’ve been amply provided for, he has said. He denied wrongdoing of any kind. In a 2010 letter making these points and excluding Helga and their children from any operational role in the company, Gaston Sr. demanded “appreciation, compliance, and acceptance and the respect I deserve as a father.”

Story continues below…

“At the time when Gaston Sr. started pushing his family out,” Helga stated in her March 2013 affidavit, “he had a worldwide wealth of billions. It is now becoming evident that in anticipation of filing for divorce, Gaston Sr. had already started to move and hide personal and corporate assets.” 

Before the divorce was finalized in June 2011, Gaston Sr. amended trust documents to strip Helga and the children’s rights and benefits entirely, she alleges. Most of the details remain unknown to her, she adds. One alleged shuffle involved the transfer of €172 million in cash and “all of the properties and real estate acquired during our marriage” into a private Austrian trust Gaston Sr. alone controls.

He married Tschikof in 2011 and, according to Helga, put his new wife on the supervisory board, “a position that he has denied his own grown-up children after working at the company as employees for over 20 years.”

Gaston Sr. has denied all the accusations against him. His lawyers said in a 2013 U.S. court filing that his ex-wife has “resorted to false ad hominem attacks.” What she calls “illusory trusts” meant to obfuscate the family fortune are legitimate court-supervised legal organizations in Austria, Gaston Sr.’s lawyers have argued, and “none of the Austrian courts has ever raised any issue relative to the structure of any of the corporate entities at issue in this case.” Moreover, the lawyers maintained, Helga voluntarily approved of the relevant trusts, meaning she has no basis for complaint.

For more news from Austria, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Austrian far-right leader brands Merkel 'dangerous'
Heinz-Christian Strache. Photo: Facebook/Personal

The head of Austria's far-right Freedom Party has branded Angela Merkel Europe's most dangerous politician.

Austria 'horror clown' attacks leave several injured
Clown performers are not happy about the negative media stories. Photo: Graeme Maclean/Flickr

Several people have been injured in attacks by masked assailants dressed as 'creepy clowns' in the lead-up to Halloween.

Brunnenmarkt murder 'could have been prevented'
Locals remember the murdered woman. Photo: Wien Caritas

The random murder of a woman in Vienna could have been prevented if the homeless and mentally disturbed man who killed her had been admitted to a psychiatric institution.

Iraqi family ask ECJ to help them stay in Austria
Kumberg locals hold a vigil for the family. Photo: ORF

A group of people from Kumberg in Styria have asked the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for help in trying to stop the deportation of an Iraqi family.

The Local List
Five things you need to know about winter tyres
Photo: carmagazine.co.uk

It’s that time of year when temperatures start to plunge and drivers are advised to switch to winter tyres to avoid being caught out by snow and ice on the roads.

Radioactive uranium rocks on display in Austrian schools
Uraninite crystals. Photo: Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com/Wikimedia

Education officials have carried out urgent checks in schools across the country after one of the stones on display in a classroom turned out to be radioactive.

Austrian churches slam far-right's 'God' slogan
Campaign poster for Norbert Hofer. Photo: Paul Gillingwater

Austrian church officials have denounced far-right presidential candidate Norbert Hofer for "instrumentalising" God in a new slogan.

'Scary clown' pushes 14-year-old off his bike in Salzburg
Generic photo: Graeme Maclean/Flickr

A 14-year-old boy in Salzburg has been injured after being pushed off his bike by an individual dressed as a scary clown.

Police puzzled by random stabbing of teenager in Vienna
Photo: Paul Gillingwater

A 15-year-old boy who was stabbed near his home in the Vienna district of Liesing on Friday morning by a complete stranger has spoken to the police.

'Sensational' 300-year-old Madonna found in Burgenland
The head of the statue was found beside the body. Photo: ORF

A 300-year-old statue of the Virgin Mary has been found hidden in a chapel next to a Catholic church in Loretto, Burgenland.

12 brilliant German words you won't find in English
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Five films which will change your mind about Austrian cinema
Those surprising Austrians!
100 years since the last emperor's death
Afghani family's new home in Austria
Der you learn Deutsch?
Delighted by the light
Beware these passport scams
Of course we skipped Oarsch
Foodies rejoice at the choice!
Travel & Tourism
10 years after her escape from captivity
Surviving the Brexit for British expats
Day 2 of the World Bodypainting Festival 2016
Is Islam hostile to Western society?
Bodypainting festival in southern Austria
Europe's ice cream capital
Best Austrian beauty spots
Travel & Tourism
Three days in Vienna as a tourist
How to make friends in Austria
jobs available