Widow asks grave robbers to return billionaire's body

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21 Nov, 2008 Updated Fri 21 Nov 2008 14:57 CEST
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The widow of German industrial billionaire Friedrich Karl Flick called on thieves to return her husband’s corpse, saying the Flick family is willing to pay an “appropriate” finder’s fee, according to daily Bild.

“We, the entire family, appeal to the perpetrators to return the coffin and corpse of my dead husband unharmed,” Ingrid Flick told the paper.

Flick’s remains were wrested from a mausoleum at an Austrian cemetery early this month. Police have said they suspect the culprits will soon demand a ransom for the body of the controversial industrialist and said they feel insiders may have been involved in the plot.

Before his death in 2006, Flick lived under heavy guard since much of his family’s wealth was based on his father’s business as an arms supplier to Nazi Germany. Despite relying heavily on slave labour during the Second World War, the Flicks have never contributed to restitution funds or offered victims or their families restitution.

The family further stoked emotions in the 1980s after it emerged the younger Flick had bribed German politicians in order to lower a tax bill related to his sale of a stake in then Daimler-Benz. He ultimately sold his estate to Deutsche Bank and migrated to Austria, where he lived with his third wife in a villa on the shores of Lake Wörther.

The dark legacy has caused several institutions to reject donations by the Flick family and at least one Swiss museum refused to show an admired collection of Flick-owned modern art. Undaunted, the family eventually found a home for the works, which were given their own wing at Berlin’s Hamburger Bahnhof museum.

Ingrid Flick, who was 31 years younger than her husband, reportedly inherited €4 billion upon his death and now lives in California.

The crime has sparked police in the Alpine country to place guards at the grave of deceased right-wing politician Jörg Haider. Haider died in a single-car accident last month after an evening of drinking.



2008/11/21 14:57

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