Merck Finck heir sues brothers for family bank sale to Barclays

'Black sheep' baron claims he was cheated by half-brothers who bought him out in 1985

An heir to the Merck Finck & Co dynasty is contesting the 1990 sale of the German private bank to Barclays.

Baron Helmut von Finck has filed a claim with Munich courts claiming that the will of his deceased father, August, stipulates that the family-owned bank should remain independent and that he should have received billions as his inheritance rather than the millions agreed with his half-brothers.

"The last will of my father was to hold the family empire together," Baron von Finck told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Now he wants his two half-brothers to be disinherited by the courts "because they broke with the terms of my father's will in selling Merck Finck & Co to Barclays".

Baron von Finck further aims to prove that he was not in a fit state to sign the 1985 contract which bought out his entitlement to one-third of his father's estate, worth billions, for DM65m. The implications for Barclays are unclear since Merck Finck was sold in 1999 to KBC for some £170m. Merck Finck refused to comment last week.

Baron von Finck was, by his own account, the black sheep of the family, and never spoke to his father after his 12th year. He led a wild existence in the 1980s, experimenting with LSD and group sex before joining the Bhagwan sect in the US. He ran a Munich disco called Confetti, and participated in "a mad hippie scene". He is now a reformed character, with adult children, and he is sure that the 1985 agreement will be nullified because of his then psychological state.

"I was being treated," he said. " There are enough witnesses and doctors' reports that confirm this." He considers himself cheated by his half-brothers.

His relationship with his father was extremely difficult, he admits. "He was very distant, never talkative, very serious, never fun." His father's will stipulated that he would not have control of his money before the age of 38.

Baron von Finck is now a multi-millionaire who is in property and runs a prize-winning horse stud on 80 hectares in north Germany. But compared with his siblings, he is poor.

His elder half-brother, Baron August von Finck Jnr, is estimated by Forbes to be worth €4.7bn, while the son of his now- deceased younger half-brother, Wilhelm, is estimated to be worth €1.7bn. Their Swiss-held fortune derives not only from the Merck Finck sale but also from extensive property around Munich, plus holdings in Mövenpick, a fast-food chain, Von Roll, an electrical insulation maker, and SGS, a quality-assurance firm.

Baron August von Finck Snr expanded the family's private bank by "Aryanising" Jewish banks in the Nazi era. A leading Nazi supporter, he took over the Austrian Rothschild bank in 1938 He was one of the group of industrialists that met Hitler in 1931 and promised financial support in the event of a successful putsch against the Weimar Republic. After the Second World War, he successfully defended his land holdings around Munich from land reform.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive

£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...

Recruitment Genius: Technical Report Writer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Technical Report Writer is re...

MBDA UK Ltd: Indirect Procurement Category Manager

Competitive salary & benefits!: MBDA UK Ltd: MBDA UK LTD Indirect Procurement...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - PHP

£16500 - £16640 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing Finance compa...

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore