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Udo Proksch

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Udo Proksch
Born(1934-05-29)29 May 1934
Died27 June 2001(2001-06-27) (aged 67)
Graz, Austria
Resting placeHeiligenstädter Friedhof, Döbling, Vienna
OccupationBusinessperson, designer, restaurateur[1]
Known forplanting a time bomb on the freighter Lucona in 1977 as part of an insurance fraud
Motivefinancial profit, monetary gain
Conviction(s)six counts of murder (March 11, 1991)
Criminal chargesix counts of murder
PenaltyLife imprisonment
Partner(s)several high-ranking politicians who were shareholders in Proksch's company
Wanted since1988
Time at large
more than a year
Date23 January 1977
Location(s)Indian Ocean
WeaponsTime bomb
Date apprehended
2 October 1989
Imprisoned atGraz-Karlau Prison[2]

Udo Proksch (29 May 1934 in Rostock, Germany – 27 June 2001 in Graz, Austria) was an Austrian businessman and industrialist. In 1991, he was convicted of the murder of six people as part of a major insurance fraud. Proksch died in prison.[3]

Lucona sinking

In 1977, the ship Lucona sank in the Indian Ocean, after an explosion, killing six people. Proksch, the owner of the cargo, also then owner of famous Viennese confectioners' Demel, claimed US$20 million from his insurance company, saying that the ship was carrying expensive uranium mining equipment. Fraud was suspected; but investigations were obstructed by powerful Austrian politicians who were friends of Proksch.

In 1988, Proksch fled to the Philippines after Hans Pretterebner published a book about the scandal.[1]

In 1989, he returned to Vienna, incognito, but was recognized and arrested. In 1990, Lucona was located by American shipwreck hunter David Mearns, who discovered that the ship had been sunk by a time bomb.

On March 11, 1991, Proksch was sentenced to 20 years in prison. A year later, the sentence was increased to a lifelong term in prison. Several ex-Ministers were also eventually convicted over their involvement. The ex-Minister of Foreign Affairs was sentenced for forging documents authenticating the cargo. Two other Ministers were dismissed for obstructing the investigations. The Minister of Defense Karl Lütgendorf, a shareholder in the Proksch firm, had given permission to deliver explosives to sabotage the ship and committed suicide when that became clear.

Proksch died on 27 June 2001, during heart surgery.

Tombstone of Proksch's grave at the Heiligenstädter Friedhof
Tombstone of Proksch's grave at the Heiligenstädter Friedhof

Proksch was the first husband of the actress Daphne Wagner, daughter of Wieland Wagner, great-granddaughter of the composer Richard Wagner and great-great-granddaughter of Franz Liszt.[3]

Works about Proksch and the Lucona case

  • 1988: Hans Pretterebner publishes a book about the Lucona case, Der Fall Lucona.
  • 1993: A film about the Lucona case (starring David Suchet) is released.
  • 2004: The art group monochrom stages Udo 77, a musical about the life of Udo Proksch.
  • 2010: A documentary about Proksch, entitled Udo Proksch: Out of Control and directed by Robert Dornhelm is released.

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ a b Longworth, R. C. (March 15, 1989). "The Lucona Affair – The Cafe Czar Who Left A Cloud of Corruption in Decadent Old Vienna". Chicago Tribune. Chicago. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
  2. ^ Schödel, Helmut (26 April 1996). "Ein Besuch bei Udo Proksch, Österreichs prominentestem Häftling". Die Zeit (in German). Hamburg. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
  3. ^ a b Brey, Thomas (28 June 2001). "Udo Proksch: Österreichs Paradehäftling ist tot". Der Spiegel (in German). Hamburg. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
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Udo Proksch
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