Divorce & Hidden Money: Helga Glock’s Search For Gaston Glock’s Assets
This is the ninth post in the “Divorce & Hidden Money” series. By failing to disclose any offshore assets, one divorcing spouse may cheat the other out of child support, alimony or other court awards. A spouse cheated this way might however, file requests for judicial assistance, (a.k.a. requests for legal assistance, letters of request, or letters rogatory), in a foreign country to collect evidence from witnesses residing there.
Evidence collected from the foreign witnesses may prove a divorcing spouse concealed bank accounts, businesses, real estate or additional assets offshore. The post highlights a request for judicial assistance in the U.S. filed by Helga Glock, (“Ms. Glock”), former wife of billionaire Gaston Glock, (“Mr. Glock”), inventor of the Glock pistol. It features a January 31, 2010 letter Mr. Glock allegedly wrote to his family discussing his plans for them. The post also discusses accessing Swiss bank account information and updates Helga Glock Claims Gaston Glock Started Concealing His Assets, published January 1st.
THE LETTER TO MR. GLOCK’S FAMILY
After her divorce from Mr. Glock in Austria on June 27, 2011, Ms. Glock made a March 18, 2013 request for judicial assistance, (“the Request”), in the case called In Re: Application of H.M.G., Index No. 13-cv-02598. The Request included a January 31, 2010 letter, (“the Letter”), Mr. Glock allegedly wrote to his family. If genuine, the Letter gives a glimpse of Mr. Glock’s dealings with Ms. Glock and their children who worked in the family’s gunmaking business. The Letter mentioned “the Privatstiftung”, a trust/Austrian private foundation Mr. Glock, Ms. Glock and others reportedly set up as co-settlors. Some of the key points Mr. Glock allegedly made at the Letter were:
“In 1999 I decided to restructure the Glock Group and secure it for all succeeding generations to come through the Privatstiftung (trust).”
“I guarantee the agreed upon payments to the beneficiaries for a lifetime. I therefore expect appreciation, compliance and acceptance and the respect I deserve as a father.”
“I am working on a ‘Glock code of conduct’ which will be implemented and will require all employees and family who access the benefits to adhere to.”
“I will not allow any interference with my life long business endeavors. Therefore, all employed family members will withdraw from the company’s operations.”
(Click On The Image To Read The Letter & Its English Translation)
Paul M. Barrett, (who is an assistant managing editor at Bloomberg Businessweek), mentioned the Letter at the first and fourth pages of his September 18, 2014 article “The Glock Family Feud: Founder’s Ex-Wife and Kids Speak Out for the First Time.” The article was about Mr. Barrett’s interview of Ms. Glock and the Glocks’ children. Mr. Barrett discussed this interview at the beginning of the Bloomberg TV video “The Family and the Bitter Battle Behind the Glock.”
MS. GLOCK’S AFFIDAVIT
Ms. Glock’s March 7, 2013 affidavit¹ attached to the Request, alleged Mr. Glock tried to transfer assets beyond her reach. Paragraph nineteen of the affidavit stated Ms. Glock feared “similar intentions are planned with the USA assets…”:
“Due to Glock Sr.’s activities trying to transfer assets out of Mrs. Glock’s reach, I fear that similar intentions are planned with the USA assets, if he has not already done so. Presently however I only have very incomplete information of relevant income for Glock Sr from the USA or of the assets distribution here. Just as he has done with the family owned real estate and properties of Glock GmbH and the family trusts, Glock Sr. behaves up to this day passively in the Austrian alimony and asset distribution lawsuit. He keeps silent and lets his attorneys fight me.”
Paragraph nineteen basically alleged there were witnesses in the U.S. They supposedly had information material to Ms. Glock’s “ Austrian alimony and asset distribution lawsuit” against Mr. Glock. These witnesses were Glock, Inc., Glock Professional, Inc. and Consultinvest, Inc. Ms. Glock sought the documents from them which are listed here. On June 3, 2013 the U.S. District Court issued its Order authorizing Ms. Glock to collect the documents.
The extent Ms. Glock was able to gather these documents is not publicly known. Ms. Glock did however, collect general ledgers and tax returns from Glock, Inc., Glock Professional, Inc. and Consultinvest, Inc. Under their June 18, 2014 stipulation, Glock, Inc. and Consultinvest, Inc. additionally agreed to be deposed in the matter.
OBTAINING BANK ACCOUNT INFORMATION IN SWITZERLAND
Paragraph seventeen of Ms. Glock’s affidavit meanwhile, explained she filed a petition to freeze a Swiss bank account Mr. Glock allegedly maintained at UBS. Ms. Glock might have also filed a request for judicial assistance to collect this account’s opening documents, monthly statements, etc. As an attorney, I have utilized requests for judicial assistance in Switzerland and they can be a critically important asset recovery tool. A sanitized/changed copy of one to Obergericht des Kantons Zürich, can be viewed here.
The request for judicial assistance to Obergericht des Kantons Zürich sought access to a divorcing spouse’s bank account information despite strong Swiss professional secrecy laws which protect a bank customer’s privacy. As counsel in Switzerland advised in “Foreign Bank Secrecy Laws & An Asset Search”:
“It sometimes happens that spouses try to hide their assets in Switzerland. This is to no avail since article 170 of the Swiss Civil Code provides that each spouse may request from the other information on his or her income, assets and debts. Upon request, the Judge may obligate the other spouse or third parties (including banks) to provide the required information and produce the necessary documents.”
¹Helga Glock’s March 7, 2013 Affidavit has been partly sanitized for privacy reasons.