April 23, 2024

Banco is said to have transferred funds worth millions in the summer of 2023

More details have been revealed about Tyrolean real estate tycoon Rene Benko and the decline of bankrupt Signa's network. According to Austrian media, Banco is said to have moved millions of dollars within the Signa Group last summer.

Rene Benco.Image: Cornerstone

According to joint research conducted by News and Kron, it was reported as new capital for the holding company in order to convince the owners to inject capital that was urgently needed at the time. Accordingly, it was a matter of events leading up to the €350 million capital increase, which Cigna ultimately secured.

As Kron and News wrote, Banco reportedly withdrew part of it – 35 million euros – from one of Signa's many subsidiaries and transferred it to the holding company through several stops. The reason, according to the explanation of the media, is that Banco wanted to set a good example to the outside world and create confidence among shareholders in the company, which was already struggling at the time.

Specifically, a subsidiary of Signa Holding was initially denied €35 ​​million at the end of June 2023 – as a loan to another Benko company. The money was then sent through several accounts and companies: first to an affiliate of Benko's Laura private foundation. And from there – also as an alleged loan – to the Banco family's private foundation, which owns ten percent of the shares of Cigna Holdings. This is how the money eventually ended up in the holding company – disguised as new capital, As Kron writes.

Benko's lawyer defends himself against the accusations

“The facts are one-sided, abbreviated, taken out of context, and lumped together.” Benko's attorney, Norbert Weiss, responded to the reports in an APA interview. At that time, the entire group was in a “very complex and comprehensive” restructuring phase, which included numerous discussions and negotiations with existing shareholders and potential future investors, Weiss said.

No one is misled:

He added: “Any deception regarding the restructuring in the summer of 2023 – towards anyone – will in any case be rejected clearly and decisively. However, due to the complexity of the individual cases, there will be no discussion of them in the media.

Allegations were also made against Benko at the weekend by Karl Gernandt, asset manager for Hamburg logistics billionaire Klaus-Michael Kuhn, who lives in Switzerland. According to a report by the newspaper “Der Spiegel”, he saw the financiers of the Cigna Group “deceived” by Banco.

Benko used his corporate structure with more than 1,000 companies and, among other things, hid debts “in all intermediate holding companies in Luxembourg.” He acted “ultimately fraudulently.” Banco Weiss's attorney rejected this matter before the APA. (saw/sda/awp/apa)

You may also be interested in: