23rd February 2018

Dear Boy,

When you called the other day to tell me about Philippa's Will you said

 "... I inherited the furniture, the rest goes to the Red Cross".

Other people are also mentioned in the Will and the situation seems more complicated.

You also may have been referring to Philippa's personal possessions and not the main part of her fortune.  Here are things I don't understand:

  • Philippa's two properties, in Monte Carlo and Lagos, seemingly belong to a foundation.  She travelled regularly back and forth from one to the other, was the sole occupant and never rented or even let them out to anybody.
    From the very beginning she (and Uncle Mani) was the de facto owner even though the true situation was masked by rules governing Liechtenstein Foundations / Anstalts and Trusts.
    Being (with you and Henriette) the closest living relative I could be a Begünstigter.  An article that appeared in Die Presse last January with reference to Stiftungen mentions
    • "Die Begünstigen sind über ihre Rechtsstellung zu informieren.  Wenn sie aber nichts davon wissen, gehen auch ihre Informationsrechte ins Leere."
  • Peter (Jr.) and you recently visited Philippa's apartment in Monte Carlo and asked the housekeeper for the keys.  Apparently, Peter returned the next day to again ask for the keys.  Both times the housekeeper demurred.  Is Peter entitled to keys of this property?   I believe the situation has changed in the meantime.
  • Mr Blöchlinger, Treuhänder of the Industrie u. Finanzkontor Etabl. went to Monte Carlo some months ago for Philippa to sign certain documents.  At that time she was already very ill, suffering from Parkinson's and entirely dependent.  What was this unusual step all about?
  • The property in Lagos is not under Philippa's name.  The matron who managed Philippa's affairs (and a very disagreeable woman at that) seems to be under the orders of Mr Blöchlinger, refusing even to tell the name under which the property is registered.  "I have been instructed not to provide you with that information" she told me.  Whose instructions?
  • Philippa asked Alice Brito, her housekeeper in Lagos, to transfer a letter to Mr Blöchlinger via Mrs Harman.  It was delivered shortly after Philippa died and apparently contained instructions.
  • Francis "Geschäftsführender Verwaltungsrat" and "Vorsitzender Exekutivkomitee" of the Industrie u. Finanzkontor Etabl. knows the setup.
    Information regarding the disposal of Philippa's fortune should be known to the direct family, regardless of the various Statuten and Bei-Statuten.
    With no clear answer there is reason to question what is happening.
    This reminds me of "Alwa Güter- und Vermögensverwaltungs Ges.m.b.H."  The name was derived from the combination of Albrechtsfeld and Wasserburg.  You may know the story better than I do, but Alwa was probably created before the War to save Wasserburg and Albrechtsfeld from expropriation due to our British nationality.  Alwa belonged to a subsidiary of the Creditanstalt-Bankverein.
    In Uncle Mani and Philippa's case there is no justification for their heritage to be covered by a Stiftung or other legal entity.  Quite the contrary, especially as it could present ethical problems.
    At that time you encouraged Uncle Mani, as well as Nettie and Henriette, to take up residence in Monte Carlo and to establish foundations to further secure the various inheritances.
    The intention was the preservation of wealth through discretion.  Not for any other purpose.
  • Assets held by some Liechtenstein foundations are known to have been diverted, especially in cases where the beneficiary has been out of sight for a long period of time, is in a fragile state of mind and dependant on others. The above elements seem to have come together and could allow Philippa's estate to be surreptitiously transferred to places it is not intended to go.  Such transfers may include further transfers to other private or natural persons with the intention of blurring the truth.

The following extract of an article in Die Presse gives matter for concern:

"Eingriffsrechte von Stiftern würden nur halbherzig beachtet, Begünstigten nichtssagende Auskünfte gegeben, einzelne Familienstämme grundlos bevorzugt. Es würden sogar Stiftungen ohne Begünstigte fortgeführt, die im Wesentlichen nur noch Stiftungsorganen und Beratern ein Einkommen verschaffen."

Of course I hope this is not the case and that you will give me your word that I am wrong.  However, it needs to be accompanied by verifiable proof.

If my suspicions are justified, and I hope they are not, it would mean that members of one side of the family are taking away from the others.  Even if this is not the case and all is perfectly OK, things need to be transparent to avoid any form of mistrust.

"Wenn das Instrument im Eigeninteresse von Verwaltern eingesetzt wird, versagen seine positiven Eigenschaften."

I would suggest that we handle this matter discreetly within the family.  Not in public, not through the courts and without lawyers.

Maybe we can find the proper solution:

  • One solution would be for those in the know to provide an inventory of Philippa's direct and indirect assets.  These could be distributed depending on either a trustworthy Will or according to parentage.
    The foundation(s) would be dissolved and the matter forgotten.
  • Another, albeit a less agreeable approach, would be for the Statuten, Bei-Statuten and all documentation/correspondence directly or indirectly associated with Philippa to be made available to the direct family.  Including the Vermögensverwaltung activities.
  • A final solution could be to request an independent third-party survey from either the Liechtensteinische Treuhandkammer or the Finanzmarktaufsicht Liechtenstein FMA.

I believe only the first suggestion would solve the problem and put to rest a possible disruption within the family.

This letter is conciliatory and I beg of you to use your influence and avoid the worst.

You are probably the only person who can do this.

I have no interest in Philippa's inheritance.  My income today is greater than Paps' ever was.  Anything that comes my way will be passed on to members of the next generation who are in more need than I am.

Best love, 



A short explanatory note from a Liechtenstein law firm preceded this letter.