Daniel Model is said to have been a member of a “pseudo-court” that shook the foundations of the Austrian state. It is not the first time that the eccentric has attracted attention for his radical views.
These are eventful days for Daniel Model. On Tuesday and Wednesday, the Thurgau was in court in Austria for “anti-state connections”. On Thursday he announced a new sales record for his family business, which specializes in cardboard packaging – founded in 1882, with headquarters in Weinfelden and over 4000 employees. Business success and criticism of the state have shaped the life of the 61-year-old for a long time.
The trial before the Graz State Criminal Court, about which the “Thurgauer Zeitung” reported, revolves around Model’s alleged membership and financial support of the “International Common Law Court of Justice Vienna” (ICCJV). The organization, which is practically unknown in Switzerland, has been causing a stir in Austria since 2014 with spectacular vigilante cases. Specifically, the judiciary accuses Model of “anti-state connections” under the Austrian Penal Code.
As Barbara Schwarz from the Graz State Criminal Court writes at the request of the NZZ, Model is accused of having had a significant influence on the development of the anti-state connection as a “peace judge” and “leading member”. He is also said to have donated gold worth at least 150,000 euros to the ICCJV.
Officials kidnapped and “convicted”
The “International Common Law Court of Justice Vienna” is an association in the area of the so-called state refusers. These are movements that do not recognize the existence and legitimacy of states. The best-known organizations are the Reichsbürger in Germany, One People’s Public Trust primarily in the USA, and the Austrian Confederation of States.
According to Schwarz, the ICCJV has “created pseudo-courts of justice with the help of self-proclaimed ‘sheriffs’ to administer justice. State decision-makers, politicians, civil servants, judges and private individuals should have been kidnapped, held captive and “convicted”. The aim of the association is “to shake the ordinary courts and thus a constitutional institution of the Republic of Austria through systematic violation of state regulations and through violence”.
In 2017 there was a trial in Krems in which eight conscientious objectors stood before the court. They had brought a guardianship officer before an ICCJV tribunal for cutting off a woman’s power and blocking her account. An “arrest warrant” was issued against the officer and a trial was held on a farm.
At least 353 members have joined the association, according to the announcement. The network stretches across Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Poland, the Czech Republic, Italy, Estonia and France. Daniel Model is said to have belonged to this association from October 2, 2015 to October 8, 2017. In addition, the ICCJV is said to have had its headquarters in the “Modelhof” in Müllheim (TG) for several years.
This palatial building on an 8,000-square-meter site is the “seat of government” of a separate state proclaimed by Model in 2006. What was originally intended as a provocation took on more and more forms: as a bizarre gimmick, complete with its own flag and coins with the model’s likeness. After the title of a fantasy book that his youngest daughter was reading, Model called his state “Avalon” – the name, known from the Arthurian legend, means “apple orchard” in Celtic, which seemed apt to the Thurgau.
According to the provisions of the Austrian Penal Code, the 61-year-old faces a prison sentence of between six months and five years. Several members of the association have already been sentenced to prison terms in Austria. When asked by the NZZ, Daniel Model did not want to comment on the specific case because it was an ongoing process.
However, Model does not believe that the court case could have negative consequences for his family business. It is “a mini case that may never become a real case”. He further explained: “There are always forces that would like to cause damage to my reputation. They won’t be able to do that.” According to the Graz State Criminal Court, further trial dates for the model will follow. When the verdict will be made is still open.
“Badly degenerated” Switzerland
In Switzerland, Model has long had the reputation of being an eccentric. The entrepreneur, who once did his doctorate at the University of St. Gallen with a thesis on “Sport as a model for thought and action for optimizing performance in management” and was one of the world’s top curling players at a young age, also relies on absolute competition in other respects. He strictly rejects everything that the modern state has set up in terms of social safety nets. Instead, he preaches a radical individualism.
The libertarian calls the state a “Moloch” or a “monster”, and for him taxes have the “character of expropriation”. For years he has seen blackness in Switzerland: it is “in a kind of self-dissolution, like Europe,” he dictated to “Migros-Magazine”, which visited him in 2013 at the “Modelhof”. He had previously described federal democracy as “badly degenerated and perverted”.
In 2014 he moved his residence to Liechtenstein; Although the principality is not a sovereign zone either, the taxes are lower there. Despite his extreme socio-political views, Model is well connected in right-wing circles, especially in eastern Switzerland. He acts as a board member of the Liberal Institute. The “Swiss Month” has already questioned him in long interviews, daily newspapers, including the NZZ, portrayed him as an exotic and unique character.
In 2018, the entrepreneur wrote in the “Weltwoche” as one of a dozen and a half “interesting people” about how he imagines Switzerland of the future: “Switzerland has also been caught up in the large-scale mass psychosis that (. . .) indulges in a mania for equality and control , which does not rest until every citizen has been fined for his misconduct or has been taken into custody as a general suspect. » However, Model claimed much earlier that the rule of law should not be trusted. In an interview with the newspaper “Der Bund” in 2008, he stated: “The Guild of Lawyers has long been warning against bringing disputes to court. A process is like a voyage on the high seas: anything is possible.”