Lost billionaire: family wants to declare Tengelmann boss dead

Lost billionaire
Family wants to declare Tengelmann boss dead

Since the disappearance of co-owner Karl-Erivan Haub, a family feud for power and money has been simmering at the Tengelmann Group. Now the dispute seems to have been resolved. After much hesitation, Haub's wife and children want to have the former CEO declared dead.

A surprising turnaround in the case of the missing Tengelmann boss Karl-Erivan Haub: After a long hesitation, wife Katrin and the children of the missing billionaire want to have the entrepreneur declared dead. The family had joined the ongoing applications for a declaration of death, said a spokesman for the Cologne district court.

Karl-Erivan Haub, one of the richest Germans, set out on a ski tour alone on April 7, 2018 and never returned. The family assumes that he had a fatal accident on the Klein Matterhorn near Zermatt in Switzerland. His younger brother Christian then took over sole management of the Tengelmann Group. He, his brother Georg and the company had already applied in October to have his brother declared dead. Georg Haub, however, withdrew his application in mid-January.

The background: since the disappearance of Karl-Erivan Haub, a family dispute about the redistribution of power in the multi-billion dollar retail group has been smoldering. With the application for a declaration of death, the pressure increased on Katrin Haub and her children to sell the shares of their family line. After all, the children have to be prepared for inheritance tax payments in the hundreds of millions.

The application for a declaration of death was initially sharply criticized by the wife of the missing person, Katrin Haub. "It is very strange that someone else presumes to want to make such decisions for our family," said Katrin Haub at the time via a spokesman. How the decision to join the declaration of death was initially left open. "The family made this decision for very personal reasons," said a spokesman for the families.

Applications for a declaration of death are rare

Before the Cologne District Court decides on the admissibility of the application for a declaration of death, the Cologne public prosecutor's office now has the opportunity to submit a statement. If the court then considers the application admissible, the so-called public notice procedure begins with the public announcement of the application and the request to the missing person and everyone who can say something about his whereabouts to report.

The request is not only published on the court notice board, but must also appear in a daily newspaper according to the law. At the discretion of the court, it can also be published in another way – for example electronically in the Federal Gazette. The public announcement process can take anywhere from six weeks to a year. After this period, the death declaration can be made. Applications for a declaration of death are rather rare. In the Cologne district court, only five or six of the 60,000 cases received last year affected this issue, said the judiciary.