Money Laundering Investigation Against Rene Benko |

The Cigna founder is under the watchful eye of the German money-laundering special unit. While the authorities there begin their investigation, the Austrians are still keeping their feet still. The Munich public prosecutor's office is investigating billions of dollars in overseas transactions.

Vienna/Munich. Cigna founder Rene Benko is being investigated by the Munich public prosecutor's office. According to a report by the German newspaper “Bild am Sonntag”, proceedings were allegedly launched against the Tyrolean real estate magnate in November. Reason: Suspicion of money laundering.

Three-digit millions of cash flows are explored. These were allegedly transported out of the country through Cigna companies. The former purchase and renovation of the Herti department store near Munich Central Station is at the center of the investigation. Around one billion euros were raised from banks and investors for the deal. Landesbank Hessen Thüringen reportedly invested 450 million euros, Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) 120 million and Stadtsparkasse München 70 million euros.

At the heart of the German Money Laundering Special Unit

According to German media reports, Benco's companies received information about future rental income for lenders. The lion's share of the money flowed overseas through a Luxembourg company owned by Benko's family. The first indications reportedly came from the German Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), a sub-commission of the federal finance ministry that specializes in money laundering and terrorist financing. Investigators are exchanging information with authorities in Austria, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein, and believe Benko is hiding assets.

When the first signs of insolvency emerged at Cigna Group, proceedings were apparently launched. Neither the state prosecutor's office nor Benko's lawyer wanted to comment on the allegations to “Bild am Sonntag”.

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WKStA in Austria still checks

According to the latest reports from WKStA, there are still no investigations in Austria, but there are numerous reports. As reported by “Press”, Cigna Development investors have filed a criminal complaint with the Economic and Corruption Prosecutor's Office (WKStA) and called for an urgent investigation against the collapsed real estate group. The 22-page report alleges “illegal transactions”. Behind it is a whole group of international and institutional investors who are long-term lenders to Cigna.

They are not the only ones. A spokesperson for WKStA told the press in early February that the public prosecutor's office was “continually receiving new applications” regarding Cigna and René Benko. According to “Press” internal affairs, investigations are now being prepared. This has not been officially confirmed yet.

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