René Benko’s villa in Tyrol searched after Signa bankruptcy

René Benko’s villa in Tyrol searched after Signa bankruptcy
René Benko’s villa in Tyrol searched after Signa bankruptcy

In connection with the insolvent Signa company, police officers searched the house of the company’s founder, René Benko, to confiscate documents relating to allegations of fraud.

The villa of Signa founder René Benko in Tyrol is currently being searched by the police. Benko spokesman Norbert Wess confirmed this on Tuesday in response to a request from the Reuters news agency. “Yes, a search is currently underway to secure any documents relating to the allegations that have already been reported in the media,” Wess said in a written statement. His client is being cooperative and constructive.

The “Kronen Zeitung” and other media also reported on the police operation in Igls. According to the daily newspaper “Heute”, house searches are also taking place at other locations. The headquarters of Signa Holding in Innsbruck was also searched on Tuesday, said the holding company’s insolvency administrator, Christof Stapf. He and experts began securing the necessary data in December and are working closely with the authorities, the German Press Agency said when asked. The police in Tyrol and the Economic and Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (WKStA) did not want to comment on the matter when asked.

Investigations against René Benko for fraud

The WKStA is investigating the founder of the insolvent real estate and trading group Signa in various suspected cases: On the one hand, an investigation is underway into alleged credit fraud. This concerns the suspicion that solvency was feigned when extending loans. According to media reports, this concerns a 25 million euro loan from an Austrian bank, during the extension of which Benko is said to have deceived the bank about the financial situation of the Signa Group last summer. Benko’s lawyer had rejected the allegations.

On the other hand, the public prosecutor’s office is investigating whether the 47-year-old former billionaire had attempted to bribe a high-ranking Austrian financial official. Benko’s lawyers have rejected all allegations. Neither the lawyer nor the WKStA wanted to say whether one of these aspects or both strands of the investigation were the focus of the search.

The Signa Group, which was built up by the Austrian entrepreneur Benko and recently collapsed and has numerous department stores in Germany, is in insolvency proceedings. Many stores have been or are being sold to pay off debts amounting to billions.

Note: This post has been updated.

Source: Stern

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