Udo Proksch

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Udo Proksch
Born (1934-05-29)May 29, 1934
Rostock, German Reich
Died June 27, 2001(2001-06-27) (aged 67)
Graz, Austria
Cause of death Cardiac surgery
Resting place Heiligenstädter Friedhof, Döbling, Vienna
Nationality Austrian
Occupation Businessperson, designer, restaurateur[1]
Known for planting a time bomb on the freighter Lucona in 1977 as part of an insurance fraud
Criminal charge six counts of murder
Criminal penalty Life imprisonment
Motive financial profit, monetary gain
Conviction(s) six counts of murder (March 11, 1991)
Partner(s) several highranking politicians who were shareholders in Proksch's company
Wanted since 1988
Time at large
more than a year
Victims 12
Date January 23, 1977
Location(s) Indian Ocean
Killed 6
Injured 6
Weapons Time bomb
Date apprehended
October 2, 1989
Imprisoned at Graz-Karlau Prison[2]

Udo Proksch (May 29, 1934 in Rostock, Germany – June 27, 2001 in 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.[3]

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 Karl Lütgendorf, 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.[1]

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.

Tombstone of Proksch's grave at the Heiligenstädter Friedhof

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.[3]

Works about Proksch and the Lucona case[edit]

  • 1988: Hans Pretterebner publishes 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.

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b Longworth, R. C. (March 15, 1989). "The Lucona Affair – The Cafe Czar Who Left A Cloud of Corruption in Decadent Old Vienna". Chicago Tribune. Chicago. Retrieved March 14, 2015. 
  2. ^ Schödel, Helmut (April 26, 1996). "Ein Besuch bei Udo Proksch, Österreichs prominentestem Häftling". Die Zeit (in German). Hamburg. Retrieved March 14, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b Brey, Thomas (June 28, 2001). "Udo Proksch: Österreichs Paradehäftling ist tot". Der Spiegel (in German). Hamburg. Retrieved March 14, 2015. 

External links[edit]