Steven Kay QC
9 Bedford Row
London WC1R 4AZ
0044 207 489 2727
Count Friedrich Seilern-Aspang
Villa la Carina
18 Boulevard de Suisse
98000 Monte Carlo
A-3392 Schönbühel a.d. Donau
22 October 2018
Dear Count Seilern,
I am writing to you concerning the disposal of the wealth and estate of your cousin Philippa Seilern who died unmarried and without issue on 17 January 2018 in Lagos, Portugal. Your brother has already written to you twice earlier this year, but in your single response you declined to give any reassurances nor did you provide any details that would satisfy a reasonable inquiry from a closely related member of her family, who along with others, may have inheritance rights.
Philippa inherited approximately CHF 10m from her uncle Antoine in 1978 and was advised by you to invest her fortune in a Liechtenstein Stiftung/Foundation created and managed by Industrie und Finanzkontor (I&F) through Count Josef Meran. Your son Francis is a managing director of the I&F and with your other son Peter, they have been at the hub of the network that managed her assets and investments in the Foundation.
The properties in which Philippa resided in Monaco and Lagos are held in trusts (Gasenza, Portimo) controlled by the Foundation under the I&F structure. In her lifetime Philippa received an income from the Foundation for her support and needs. However, when she died, whilst her personal effects and the small amount of cash in her accounts within her will were disposed of, her wealth that was held in the Foundation including her residences, have been held within that entity and other members of her family who may have rights against her estate have been kept ignorant of her financial arrangements. This may be because the Foundation you advised her to enter is an entity in which members of your family have an interest and benefitted from after her death in circumstances where there have been conflicts of interest as her financial advisors.
Your brother is concerned to ensure that Philippa’s wishes as to the distribution of her wealth after her death were followed. As yet there has been no reassurance from you that this has been the case and it is a reasonable inference in the circumstances that the truth is being concealed. Philippa was close to her housekeepers and confidantes Eden and Alice and there has been scant provision made it would seem for their futures.
In the circumstances to avoid what could be a damaging public dispute I invite you and your two sons to resile from your rejection of Peter’s request for transparency as to the fate of Philippa’s fortune and provide the necessary information. I am prepared to assist in this matter either in the form of a meeting or by the receipt of the explanatory documentation.
I remain available to discuss this matter at any time with you or your advisors. Your brother has expressed his desire not to participate personally in any such procedure. He is willing to pass this off as a mistake of judgment. He will not abandon this matter until Philippa’s estate is disposed of in the way that was originally intended.
Steven Kay QC
Note: Similar letters were sent to Francis and Peter S. Jr.