Rudolfine Steindling

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Rudolfine Steindling (September 10, 1934 – October 27, 2012 in Tel Aviv) was an Austrian manager and political activist with close ties to Communist organizations. She is alleged by German authorities to have stolen 130 million Euro (240 million incl. interest as of 2012) from East German accounts in the 90s that belonged to Germany after the reunification, legal action is ongoing.[1]


"Fini" Steindling was Jewish like her Hungarian husband, a resistance fighter and book author ("Vienna France Vienna. The Story of a Jewish Refugee and Restinant", "Hitting back:an Austrian Jew in the French résistance") Adolf "Dolly" Steindling who lived in France during the war and died in the 80s. Starting in 1959 she was a member of the Communist Party of Austria, her membership officially lasted only until 1969. In 1973 she nevertheless became chief executive, in 1978 trustee of the controversial foreign trade company Novum GmbH, by German accounts an affiliate of East German Alexander Schalck-Golodkowski's Kommerzielle Koordinierung, while Austrian Communists maintained for the longest time it belongs to their local party. Steindling was also involved with the similar trading company "Transcarbon". She also had considerable income by representing Western companies like Bosch, Ciba-Geigy, Voestalpine and Steyr-Daimler-Puch in East Germany.

In the early 90s after the German unification there were 250 million € on Novum accounts, about 100 million of which could be easily seized by German authorities in Switzerland. In 1991 Steindling transferred the Austrian Novum balance from a Länderbank (from 1991 onwards called Bank Austria) account to one of the BFZ, a Swiss "Bank Austria" affiliate and then back to other Austrian accounts, according to Profil (see article below) likely abetted by CEOs René Alfons Haiden and his successor Gerhard Randa. She proceeded to go to the bank not fewer than 51 times and drew it all out in suitcases in 1992.[2]

In 2003 a German court decided that the money belongs to Germany. In 2010 a Swiss court ruled that the Bank Austria must pay 120 million Euro but a higher level of jurisdiction ruled there were procedural errors.

From the 90s on Steindling lived in Israel with her daughter Susanna as an influential socialite well-connected with the country's central fundraising organization Keren Hayesod[3] where she was co-chairwoman, Yad Vashem, Tel Hashomer, and the Weizmann Institute of Science. Her daughter inherited several pieces of valuable real estate including a Döbling villa worth 15mio € in 1994.[4]

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