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Signa Development’s 300 Million Euro Mystery Linked to René Benko

  • By The Swiss Times
  • 1 February 2024

Questions arise over 300 million euros allegedly transferred to companies associated with René Benko before Signa Development’s insolvency. The insolvency administrator disputes claims, sparking further inquiry.

Signa Development’s 300 Million Euro Mystery Linked to René Benko

Before its insolvency declaration, real estate firm Signa Development purportedly directed EUR 300 million to two Innsbruck entities tied to property tycoon René Benko, says the “Financial Times.” Insolvency overseer Andrea Fruhstorfer counters these allegations in “Der Standard,” labeling them inaccurate. Yet, claims linger against “Signa Group’s related entities.”

The funds, Fruhstorfer explains, fueled Signa realty ventures, as per “Der Standard.” The spotlight falls on Laura Finance Holding GmbH and Laura Holding GmbH, recipients of significant sums just before the bankruptcy. These transactions emerged on December 29, the day of bankruptcy, raising suspicions about Benko’s financial maneuvers.

Contrary to speculation, company records reveal these Laura entities recently distanced from Benko’s control. “Der Standard” notes substantial ownership changes in December, shifting the majority stake away from Benko-affiliated firms to critical investors.

The narrative is complicated by Laura Holding GmbH’s involvement, especially given its ties to notable figures like Ernst Tanner, former Lindt & Sprüngli Group executive, and others, reshaping ownership dynamics right before the insolvency.

This intricate web of transactions and ownership shifts leaves unanswered questions. Where did the 300 million euros end up, and why? The role of the Laura companies in this scenario remains ambiguous, as does the legality of the asset transfers pre-bankruptcy.

Fruhstorfer’s reticence and the silence from Signa Development only deepen the mystery surrounding this financial problem.

©Keystone/SDA

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