Viktoria-Katharina Flick and twin brother Karl-Friedrich Flick aren’t going to have to worry about money for the rest of their days, because each 19-year-old is worth a staggering $1,8 billion (R22,5 billion).
Must be nice.
One thing they will always have to worry about is the story of how they came to inherit such a vast fortune, because both their grandfather and father have a few skeletons in the closet.
To sum it up rather succinctly, here’s TIME:
Their grandfather was said to be Nazi Germany’s richest man after building a weapons empire on the backs of slave labor [sic].
Their father was involved in one of postwar Germany’s biggest political scandals. He almost frittered away the family fortune.
Yeah, not the best look.
The family now manages their business empire from Austria, and have come under criticism for failing to administer any form of restitution for using slave labour.
Whilst other German business dynasties have done so over the years, the Flicks don’t seem too fussed.
More on grandfather Friedrich Flick:
The Flicks’ wealth traces its roots to Friedrich Flick, who spent three years in prison after he was convicted by the Nuremberg war crimes tribunal of using slave labor to produce armaments for the Nazis, among other crimes. He created a steel empire, which expanded by seizing companies in Nazi-occupied territories and in Germany through Aryanizations—the expropriation and forced sale of Jewish-owned businesses. As many as 40,000 laborers may have died working for Flick companies, according to a study of his Nazi-era businesses published in 2008.
Flick was released from prison in 1950, after the U.S. high commissioner for Germany granted controversial pardons to German industrialists. The U.S. and U.K. returned his money and business properties, including one Aryanized asset. He sold his coal businesses and invested the proceeds in numerous companies…
So he wasn’t the greatest bloke, and then Friedrich (which sounds rather similar to Third Reich) Junior took over the reins:
Friedrich Karl Flick, took the reins of the family business upon his father’s death in 1972. He became sole owner of what was then Germany’s largest closely held conglomerate after buying out three family members in 1975. He also sold the remaining Aryanized asset, the Luebeck blast furnaces in northern Germany, to U.S. Steel Corp. that year.
In the 1980s, he was mired in a scandal involving illegal political donations that led to the resignations of Germany’s minister of economics and the parliamentary president. Friedrich Karl Flick denied knowledge of the payments and was not indicted. In 1987, his closest associate was fined for tax evasion and given a suspended jail sentence.
Friedrich Karl Flick sold the businesses to Deutsche Bank AG for 5.36 billion deutsche marks ($2.17 billion) in 1985, at the height of the scandal. After that, he withdrew from public life.
Yeah, probably best to lay low for a while after all that skandaal.
Flick then moved to Austria, the birthplace of his 32-years-younger wife Ingrid [pictured with him above], before passing away in 2006 when his twins were just seven.
They’re not the only ones who were left a whopping fortune:
“As we are a single-family office we do not divulge any details to outsiders,” Weiser [a board member who oversees family business] said in an email. The twins were not made available for interviews. Their two half-sisters, Alexandra Butz, 50, and Elisabeth von Auersperg-Breunner, 44, from Friedrich Karl Flick’s second marriage, are based in Munich and Austria. The sisters’ net worth is also $1.8 billion each. They declined to comment.
The twins have always shunned the spotlight and remained remarkably low key, with very little known about the 19-year-olds.
Here’s what is public knowledge:
The twins attended public high school in southern Austria, yet they’ve grown up with the trappings of wealth. When they were 13, they moved into their own villa on the grounds of Ingrid Flick’s Austrian estate. The residence had a disco, a playground and a tennis court, according to the Austrian newspaper Kleine Zeitung. The court was inaugurated by Ilie Nastase, a former world No. 1-ranked player.
It can’t be pleasant growing up with the stink of war crime money all around you, but I reckon the twins are happy with their lot in life.
Best stick with that low profile approach, though, because (almost) nobody likes a Nazi.
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