13.12.2023 Last week it was suddenly freezing cold in our offices in Hamburg; electricity and Internet failed intermittently. What had happened? It quickly turned out that the building belonged to the empire of the insolvent Austrian real estate mogul René Benko, and that the building service providers had unceremoniously stopped working - for fear of not being paid.
We wanted to take a closer look at this immediately - on our favourite website northdata.com - but to our horror, we discovered that there was no public profile of René Benko.
Our first suspicion: a software error (“bug”). No. Then it dawned on us: privacy restrictions! In 2013, René Benko had already retired from all official positions as a legal representative (managing director, board of directors), shortly after his conviction for corruption in 2012.
Legal representative positions that date back more than 10 years are automatically blocked on North Data. In addition, there are more than a hundred shareholdings, which we do not show publicly, as they allow conclusions to be drawn about the personal wealth of the people concerned.
We have now lifted the privacy restrictions on René Benko's profile by marking him as “politically exposed”:
- Even though he does not formally hold positions as a legal representative, he is the puppet master behind the scenes, who continues to control his empire through front men and trustee structures of enormous proportions.
- The argument of drawing conclusions about Benko's personal wealth is invalid, as it is well-known from the many press publications.
- The public interest in clarifying the events and connections in Benko's network of companies is overwhelming.
The transfer of countless holdings into foundation structures such as the Benko Family Private Foundation and the Laura Private Foundation (named after Benko's daughter) is particularly interesting to follow: just two weeks before Signa Holding filed for insolvency, subsidiaries were moved into the foundation.
The fact that things are not right in Benko's empire is clearly revealed by the entanglements. The question remains as to why, despite all this, René Benko was acceptable to politicians and banks as a business partner for so long.