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Old 05-15-2013, 05:49 AM   #1
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Snidely UBS allegedly stole 57 m $ of gold from Eastern German man (probably communist loot)

A very strange news story emerged in Germany's largest newspaper "Bild" yesterday with a follow up today:

A guy from Eastern Germany, the former Communist part of Germany (GDR), claims he deposited 57 million dollars worth of gold with UBS in Switzerland in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He later transferred it to Toronto, Canada, when he emigrated over there. Right now, he obviously lives in Wuppertal, Germany, and receives welfare.

He says that the gold was purchased with funds that he raised from the sale of a "bankrupt" company in Western Germany in 1986. That itself is a very weird part of the story, because citizens of Eastern Germany couldn't run companies in the Western part during the cold war, at least not without intimate connections to the power apparatus in the Eastern part. This company was probably a front organization for the GDR. The bankruptcy might have been faked to get the funds out. The current news story does NOT cover this, however. Setting up front companies is a standard procedure of intelligence services all over the world.

The ruling communists in Eastern Germany were organiszed in the SED party. This party was dissolved after the reunification of Germany in 1990. However, it has transferred it's vast funds and properties to a successor party called PDS which now calls itself "Die Linke" (the left). Their most talented politician is named Gregor Gysi, a lawyer by training. In Eastern Germany, he represented dissidents and politicial prisoners, but worked with the secret police Stasi, too. He provided detailed reports to the state about his clients. A classical snitch.

Mr Gysi is now representing the guy who claims that UBS stole his gold. According to the Bild newspaper, UBS's reasoning for refusing to deliver the gold is that the maximum storage period of 10 years was exceeded. That's almost certainly not the whole argument. There is probably more to it that we don't know yet.

Mr Gysi also contacted one of Germany's most ardent capitalists, Carsten Maschmeyer, the founder of an investment scheme called AWD that is borderline to a ponzi. He contacted Mr Maschmeyer, "because of his intimate connections to the current UBS leadership". He should help recover the gold. He refused to do it.

My conclusion is simple: The funds that bought the gold were property of Eastern Germany and were taken away during the collapse of the GDR. Mr Gysi will probably get a nice cut should he succeed.

Here are the links to the two articles from today and yesterday:

http://www.bild.de/politik/inland/gr...6584.bild.html

http://www.bild.de/politik/inland/gr...4784.bild.html
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Old 05-15-2013, 06:37 AM   #2
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That is indeed a strange story. But this part:
Originally Posted by swissaustrian View Post:
... UBS's reasoning for refusing to deliver the gold is that the maximum storage period of 10 years was exceeded. ...
Makes me wonder - does UBS explicitly tell people (in the fine print of any prospectus no doubt) that their vaulting services are only valid for 10 years? After that, every customer needs to withdraw their gold and find a new home for it? Or is that 10 years after the last vault fee (maintenance / rent) was paid?
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Old 05-15-2013, 07:17 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by PMBug View Post:
That is indeed a strange story. But this part:

Makes me wonder - does UBS explicitly tell people (in the fine print of any prospectus no doubt) that their vaulting services are only valid for 10 years? After that, every customer needs to withdraw their gold and find a new home for it? Or is that 10 years after the last vault fee (maintenance / rent) was paid?
It's most certainly not in the fine print.

The missing payment of fees could only justify the seizure of a small amount of the total.

I think it's probably a misunderstanding by the newspaper: In Switzerland, 10 years of possesion in good faith ( http://legal-dictionary.thefreedicti...com/good+faith ) of any good makes you it's rightful owner. UBS might claim that they thought they owned it in good faith (ie with legitimate reasons for the assumtion of ownership), instead of just having possesion.
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Old 05-15-2013, 07:24 AM   #4
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If owner had not paid the storage fees for over 10 years, then UBS would have a claim and I can understand that - assuming that the vault contract doesn't have language stipulating that storage fees would be paid out of the gold held in the vault in case that fees weren't paid explicitly.
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Old 05-15-2013, 07:30 AM   #5
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Yes, but if they had a collateralization agreement, they'd have to liquidate the holdings and pay the funds back to the owner, net of outstanding fees. They can't just expropriate him completely.
There is something to the story that isn't public yet.
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Old 05-15-2013, 08:33 AM   #6
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And USB are not trying to deny that the gold was deposited ............
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Old 05-15-2013, 08:45 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by rblong2us View Post:
And USB are not trying to deny that the gold was deposited ............
UBS

Obviously they don't deny it.
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Old 05-15-2013, 08:53 AM   #8
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I wonder if the gold is stamped in some way that makes the ownership suspect. Perhaps from the Nazi era and there is a question about where it came from (Jewish seizures). I love a good spy story!
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Old 05-15-2013, 09:02 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Aubuy View Post:
I wonder if the gold is stamped in some way that makes the ownership suspect. Perhaps from the Nazi era and there is a question about where it came from (Jewish seizures). I love a good spy story!
I don't think there is a Nazigold connection, because it was bought in the late 1980s.
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Old 05-15-2013, 09:14 AM   #10
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Darn. Well when you say it was bought is that the same thing as when it was produced? I love the scene in Goldfinger when Bond drops the Nazigold bar onto the fairway with a big thud and then they play for it (imagine the theme song to Goldfinger playing right now). That was one of the best movies ever made.
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Old 05-15-2013, 09:39 AM   #11
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Swiss banks melted all the nazi gold down and stamped in with unsuspicious signs: http://www.nytimes.com/1996/09/21/wo...s-secrets.html
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Old 05-15-2013, 10:02 AM   #12
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Thanks for the link. I always wondered why Germany didn't just take over Switzerland since they had the place geographically surrounded. Maybe banking is the true "oldest profession"....
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Old 07-15-2013, 07:56 AM   #13
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UBS makes some of the most beautiful bullion bars. This reminds me to check them out
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