Gun magnate Gaston Glock Sr. and his manufacturing company, Glock Inc., have been silent concerning a $500 million civil suit filed in October in which his ex-wife, Helga Glock, accused the tycoon of carrying out an elaborate (and allegedly criminal) plan to steal her share of the business.
But indirectly, the 85-year-old billionaire is speaking by way of a lawsuit of his own, filed in an Austrian court last month, and through actions meant to intimidate and silence his 78-year-old former wife, according to documents filed yesterday in an Atlanta court by Helga’s attorney. These include having his personal guards conduct 24-hour surveillance outside her home, according to affidavits.
For at least three days in November, a “professional detective” employed by Glock Sr. sat outside of Helga’s Austrian home in a SEAT Toledo with tin foil covering the windows, according to sworn affidavits from Helga’s bodyguards, who called the police fearing for her safety and property. Photos accompanying the exhibits show the man outside his car with arms raised as a policeman draws his gun (which as it happens, appears to also be a Glock). According to the court documents, the man gave the police a card that said he was a detective and he claimed to have been hired to watch the residence. But Helga’s guards recognized him as a member of Gaston Glock Sr.’s security service from several past court appearances during the Glocks’ divorce proceedings.
This is another example of Glock’s crusade to intimidate Helga, attorney John Da Grosa Smith argued in yesterday’s court filing. “While there may be instances when it is appropriate for a defendant to conduct surveillance of a plaintiff (such as when a plaintiff is seeking damages for personal injuries), this is plainly not one of those cases,” he wrote.
The October complaint, laid out in 350 pages of dramatic detail, tells the story of how Glock Sr. allegedly conspired with associates to set up a number of sham international companies through which they could launder money—all in an attempt to hide company profits from his family’s reach. It basically charges Glock with the founding of a criminal organization—indeed, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act under which the civil lawsuit is filed, was enacted as a way to prosecute members of the mafia.
The complaint also contained the kind of colorful particulars that made the suit go viral: While Glock squirreled away the family fortune, the complaint said, he used slush funds to entertain clients at fancy restaurants and strip clubs, and “cavort with women around the world.” More personally, the suit claimed Glock left his wife of 50 years and locked her out of the family home, fired his three children and cut off ties with his grandchildren, then quickly married his nurse and used the money from foundations, which had been set up to ensure the future financial stability of his heirs, to instead fund a horse farm upon which lives Olympic show-jumper, London, purchased for a cool $15 million.
Articles were written about the October complaint. In response, Glock’s attorneys filed a criminal complaint against Helga in Austria on November 7, claiming slander and defamation. Not only were her claims of thievery and fraud lies, Glock alleged in the complaint, but she had “accused him of offensive behaviors” that would make him “despicable” in the court of public opinion.
Glock’s complaint states that Helga has rejected “generous alimonies and accommodations” and “significant assets in the tens of millions range” as “not enough.”
Helga’s only goal, the complaint said, “is to damage [Glock Sr.]…to erode [Glock’s] reputation, so she gets monies she is not entitled to.” Furthermore it stated that the sensational allegations will likely damage Glock’s business.
The scandal couldn’t have come at a worse time. Though Glock Inc. is doing quite well—it supplies U.S. police with two-thirds of their firearms and dominates the civilian handgun market—the gun maker is currently a frontrunner for a newly announced military contract to replace the Army’s current primary pistol, the 9mm Beretta. And while these are just accusations for now, as Paul Barrett noted in Businessweek, “the Pentagon might hesitate to engage with a foreign corporation alleged to have used shell companies to transfer firearm profits away from the U.S. and toward low-tax jurisdictions in the Caribbean, Latin America, and Europe.”