One of the world’s biggest gun companies is at the center of a dramatic divorce case that involves allegations of an affair, a secretive network of international bank accounts, and even an attempted murder case. And last month, the battle over the Glock fortune landed in an American courtroom where the company’s founder is fighting attempts by his ex-wife and her attorneys to obtain documents detailing the firm’s finances.Gaston Glock Sr., 84, whose company makes handguns used by the majority of American police departments and millions of private gun owners, and his wife, Helga Glock, 77, were divorced in June 2011. He subsequently married Kathrin Tschikof, a woman more than 50 years his junior.
By December 2011, Helga Glock had filed lawsuits in Austrian court to obtain spousal support and divide up their marital assets. In March, the case came across the pond when attorneys for Helga Glock filed a motion in a federal court in Atlanta to compel Glock’s American subsidiaries, namely Georgia-based Glock Inc., to release documents that would reveal details about the finances of the company — and its founder.
In documents filed in support of the motion, Helga Glock’s attorneys argued the financial information they were requesting were needed “for use in court proceedings pending in Austria, including … a proceeding to identify and divide martial assets” and a proceeding to determine “the level of monthly support” Gaston Glock would be required to pay his ex-wife.
The lawyers said they needed details about the Gaston Glock’s empire because he had engaged in “efforts of concealment” leading up to the divorce designed to “manipulate both his income and marital assets.” According to one of Helga Glock’s attorneys, Andrew Flake, these efforts included shell companies and the channeling of “assets worth billions of dollars beyond Austria’s borders” including transfers to accounts in Bermuda, Switzerland, and “Liechtenstein and/or Luxemburg.”
Helga Glock also provided a sworn affidavit in support of her motion in which she detailed the circumstances of her breakup with her ex-husband. According to her testimony, their separation began when Gaston Glock had a stroke in October 2008.
“As he was recovering in the hospital, weak and frail, Mr. Glock was being ‘looked after’ by Katrin Tschikof his fifty year old younger girlfriend who was downright engrossed with him,” Helga Glock said. “She totally denied me and other family members any access to Glock Sr. warning us that such contact would threaten another stroke or possibly cause death.”
Soon after, Helga Glock said her former husband began “breaking off the contact” with her and their children. She also said Gaston Glock began “pushing his family out” of the trust the erstwhile couple had established for their wealth and stake in his company. She argued she played an integral role in the growth of the company and said he relieved her and their children of their roles at the firm.
In June, U.S. Magistrate Judge Linda Walker ruled Helga Glock and her attorneys were entitled to serve subpoenas on Glock’s American subsidiaries for the information they requested. Since then, attorneys for both Glock, Inc. and Gaston Glock have been fighting Helga Glock’s attempts to obtain the company’s financial information.
In July, attorney Christopher Parker, filed objections to each of the 20 requests for information made by Helga Glock’s lawyers. Overall, Parker argued the requests were “not reasonably limited in time or scope, unduly burdensome, intrusive, cumulative, overboard, vague, ambiguous, and unintelligible.” In August, Maximilian Eiselsberg, an Austrian lawyer “acting on behalf of Mr. Gaston Glock,” submitted an memorandum to the U.S. court objecting to the requests made by Helga Glock and her attorneys because “none of the documents requested are relevant to the only issue that is pending before” the Austrian court, which Eiselsberg argued is solely focused on the date the Glocks’ marriage effectively ended.
According to Eiselsberg, while Helga Glock claimed the marriage began to dissolve after her ex-husband’s stroke in 2008, “Mr. Gaston Glock disputes this and contends that the marital partnership ended in 1988” when he began living in a home without his wife. Based on these arguments, in August, lawyers for Glock’s American subsidiaries made a request for the judge to hear oral arguments in the case. That request is still pending. Helga Glock’s attorneys have filed motions arguing the companies are ignoring their subpoenas and asked Judge Walker to force them to turn over the requested data.
This divorce isn’t the first time serious drama has enveloped the Glock empire. In 2003, one of Gaston Glock’s most trusted associates, Charles Ewert, was convicted along with another man of attempting to have Gaston Glock killed as part of an attempt to cover up embezzlement from the company.
In her affidavit in the American case, Helga Glock claimed her ex-husband never told her about the murder attempt, which she said was evidence of his secretive “scheming.”
“Glock Sr. scheming has been kept concealed over time, be it not for some sporadic incidents as for example finding out about the former murder attempt on his life which to this day he has not told me of,” she said.
Read Helga Glock’s full affidavit below: