📖 Your Q2 Earnings Guide: Discover the Stocks ProPicks AI Highlights to Jump Post-EarningsRead more

Austrian pro-tax heiress gives wealth to social, climate, left-wing groups

Published 06/18/2024, 10:54 AM
Updated 06/18/2024, 10:57 AM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Marlene Engelhorn poses for portraits for Reuters in Vienna, Austria, March 6, 2024. REUTERS/Lisa Leutner

VIENNA (Reuters) - An heiress who has denounced the absence of taxes on wealth and inheritance in Austria has given the bulk of her money, 25 million euros ($27 million), to 77 organisations, including social and climate groups, as well as prominent left-wing ones.

Marlene Engelhorn, 32, has spent years criticising the birth lottery by which she inherited tens of millions and does not have to give any of it to the state, and calling for change.

In January, she said that a panel picked by a pollster asrepresentative of the Austrian public would decide how to distribute the sum, without any intervention on her part. The list of 77 recipients was announced on Tuesday.

"A large part of my inherited wealth, which elevated me to a position of power simply by virtue of my birth, contradicting every democratic principle, has now been redistributed in accordance with democratic values," Engelhorn said in a statement.

A spokesman said the 25 million euros was "the overwhelming bulk" of her wealth, though she retains an undisclosed sum.

The panel had examined "above all the question of the effects of our uneven distribution of wealth" and debates on "democracy and participation in it, tax justice and social inequality," she said.

Engelhorn is a descendant of Friedrich Engelhorn, who founded German chemicals giant BASF in 1865. Her grandmother Gertraud Engelhorn-Vechiatto married his great-grandson. When Engelhorn-Vechiatto died in 2022, Marlene inherited a large sum.

One of the objectives the 50-person panel, aged between 16 and 85, aimed to support was "a fairer distribution of wealth, more transparency and reporting on that issue and better data on very large accumulations of wealth", one member of the panel, retail employee Elisabeth Klein, said in a statement.

In support of that aim, two of the four donations of more than a million euros went to the Momentum Institute, a left-wing think-tank, and Attac Austria, which opposes neoliberal economic policy and "deregulated financial markets".

The donations ranged from 40,000 euros - for an initiative to support data-based reporting on climate change - to 1.6 million euros for the Austrian Nature Conservation Federation.

Other issues covered included housing, integration, women's rights and fighting poverty.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Marlene Engelhorn poses for portraits for Reuters in Vienna, Austria, March 6, 2024. REUTERS/Lisa Leutner

"Now, it is up to the political actors to do justice to what this group representative of the Austrian population has embodied," Engelhorn said, calling for more debate on these issues.

($1 = 0.9327 euros)

Latest comments

Risk Disclosure: Trading in financial instruments and/or cryptocurrencies involves high risks including the risk of losing some, or all, of your investment amount, and may not be suitable for all investors. Prices of cryptocurrencies are extremely volatile and may be affected by external factors such as financial, regulatory or political events. Trading on margin increases the financial risks.
Before deciding to trade in financial instrument or cryptocurrencies you should be fully informed of the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, carefully consider your investment objectives, level of experience, and risk appetite, and seek professional advice where needed.
Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. The data and prices on the website are not necessarily provided by any market or exchange, but may be provided by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual price at any given market, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Fusion Media and any provider of the data contained in this website will not accept liability for any loss or damage as a result of your trading, or your reliance on the information contained within this website.
It is prohibited to use, store, reproduce, display, modify, transmit or distribute the data contained in this website without the explicit prior written permission of Fusion Media and/or the data provider. All intellectual property rights are reserved by the providers and/or the exchange providing the data contained in this website.
Fusion Media may be compensated by the advertisers that appear on the website, based on your interaction with the advertisements or advertisers.
© 2007-2024 - Fusion Media Limited. All Rights Reserved.