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Posted 29 Sep 2001   For week ended September 21, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 24Sep01

By Kent Larsen

Munich LDS Members Accused in Massive Fraud

MUNICH, BAVARIA, GERMANY -- The Munich, Germany Criminal Court opened a massive fraud trial last Thursday against four principles of a local investment company, including three prominent local LDS Church members. The trial accuses the four of using their firm, Wirtschaftsanalyse und Beratung Aktiengesellschaft (Economic Analysis and Consultation, AG), known by its initials, WABAG, to defraud more than 6,000 investors of 190 million German Marks ($ 95 million).

According to news reports, funds from investors were to be invested in ten difference environmental projects, including bio-power stations, recycling centers and vegetable oil (used in bio power projects) factories. But, after a two-year investigation, prosecutors have concluded that only about one-third of the collected funds (245 million Marks collected from 1995 to 1999) went to the factories, which they claim were never viable.

The newspaper accounts also mention that among the alleged victims are many local LDS Church members who invested in WABAG, apparently because they knew the men involved. While the newspaper accounts don't give the men's last names, a Mormon News subscriber identifies one as a former bishop fo the Munich 1st Ward, another as a former counselor in the Munich stake presidency and the third as a sealer in the Franfurt temple.

If proved, the fraud is reportedly the largest fraud case ever in Munich. The trial is expected to last until sometime next year, and may involve others. The newspaper accounts say that a prominent local lawyer, Max Strauss, who is the son of the late Bavarian Prime Minister and former German Secretary of Defense, Franz-Josef Strauss, was the legal counsel to WABAG and may also be indicted in the case, accused of aiding and abetting the fraud.


Ein Strafverfahren der Superlative [A Superlative Criminal Trial]
Munich Germany Suddeutsche Zeitung 21Sep01 P2
By Robert Jaquet
A Superlative Criminal Trial

Millionenbetrug mit Eko-Projekten [Million-Mark Eco-Project Fraud]
Munich Suddeutsche Zeitung 17Sep01 P2
Million-Mark Eco-Project Fraud


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