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Udo Proksch (May 29, 1934 (Rostock, Germany) – June 27, 2001 (Graz, Austria)) was an Austrian businessman and industrialist. In 1991, he was convicted of the murder of six people as part of a major insurance fraud. Proksch died in prison.
In 1977, the ship Lucona sank in the Indian Ocean, after an explosion, killing six people. Proksch, the owner of the cargo, also then owner of famous Viennese confectioners' Demel, claimed US$20 million from his insurance company, saying that the ship was carrying expensive uranium mining equipment. In 1990, Lucona was located by American shipwreck hunter David Mearns, revealing that the ship had been sunk by a time bomb. Fraud was suspected; but investigations were obstructed by powerful Austrian politicians, who were friends of Proksch.
Several ex-Ministers were eventually convicted over their involvement. The ex-Minister of Foreign Affairs was sentenced for forging documents authenticating the cargo. Two other Ministers were dismissed for obstructing the investigations. The Minister of Defense, a shareholder in the Proksch firm, had given permission to deliver explosives to sabotage the ship and committed suicide when that became clear.
In 1988, Proksch fled to the Philippines after Hans Pretterebner published a book about the scandal. Proksch stayed at the palace of his personal friend, the dictator Ferdinand Marcos.[clarification needed]
In 1989, he returned to Vienna, incognito, but was recognized and arrested. On March 11, 1991, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison. A year later, the sentence was increased to a lifelong term in prison. He died on June 27, 2001, during heart surgery.
Proksch was the first husband of the actress Daphne Wagner, daughter of Wieland Wagner, great-granddaughter of the composer Richard Wagner and great-great-granddaughter of Franz Liszt.
Works about Proksch and the Lucona case
- 1988: Hans Pretterebner published a book about the Lucona case, Der Fall Lucona.
- 1993: A film about the Lucona case (starring David Suchet) is released.
- 2004: The art group monochrom stages Udo 77, a musical about the life of Udo Proksch.
- 2010: A documentary about Proksch, entitled Udo Proksch: Out of Control and directed by Robert Dornhelm is released.
- Netcyclo: Austrian history 1983 onwards
- IMDb entry about 'Der Fall Lucona'
- Homepage of 'Udo 77' (German language)
Notes and references
- Club 45 in Vienna: https://openaccess.leidenuniv.nl/dspace/bitstream/1887/4551/12/04.pdf (Page 13)