For at least two decades, the 88-year-old billionaire August von Finck supports parties, initiatives and associations in the conservative or libertarian milieu. The SPIEGEL reports in its current cover story of research, which have revealed how the old races could have promoted the rise of the AfD.

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Issue 48/2018

The billionaire and the AfD

How secret donations made the right-wing populists great

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But who is the man who should have invested so much money in the Right Party:

A family of bankers

August von Finck junior is one of four sons of the banker August von Finck senior. He was born in 1930 and has also learned the craft of the banker at the request of his father in the Munich private bank Merck Finck & Co. - the nucleus of Finck's family fortune. His own wish had been to manage the land ownership of the family. On the "Forbes" list of the richest billionaires in the world, he stands with a fortune of an estimated $ 8.6 billion in 16th place. In 1993, the family Finck of "Forbes" still ranked # 77. At that time with a fortune of 2.6 billion dollars.

Banks, breweries and gold shops

The Empire of Fincks was founded in 1870 by Wilhelm von Finck. In 1924, August von Finck senior, then 26 years old, took over the banking and investment business from his father. August senior, was an admirer of Hitler and financed the Nazis.

Finckschen possession owns a participation in the Munich Löwenbräu AG. A share package of Allianz has long since repelled Finck as Merck Finck Co Bank. Instead, he took over the majority of shares in the hotel and restaurant group Mövenpick. Finck also owns various interests in Swiss companies and the precious metal company Degussa.

The Mövenpick affair

The SPIEGEL reported in 2010 extensively on major donations, a substantia AG based in Düsseldorf to the FDP. A total of 1.1 million euros transferred the company between October 2008 and October 2009 to the Liberals. Owner of the substance AG: August von Finck junior.

What gave the lavish donations back then a smack: Under pressure from the FDP in the coalition negotiations with the CDU, the lowering of the VAT rate for overnight stays from 19 to 7 percent agreed. A billion-dollar gift for the industry - and thus also for Fincks Mövenpick hotels.

The generous donation went into the affairs of affairs as "Mövenpick donation", since then the FDP adheres to the label of the "Mövenpick party".

Closed on principle

The media-shy August von Finck shield himself carefully from his environment, the SPIEGEL reported in 1993. In the extensive portrait of the then 63 -year-old was described as someone who avoids appearances in public and rarely shows up at the glitzy parties of the Schickeria.

His interest at that time was rather the forests in the family estate and the family trout farm. Despite his translucent love of nature, nature conservation does not seem important to him. So in 1983 he declared that he considered "the dying of the forest so dramatized" to be "exaggerated". More than the acid rain, the bark beetle worries him.

Even close business partners he behaved locked: When Finck in the autumn of 1990, the paternal bank Merck, Finck & Co. sold to the British Barclays Bank, he shared his personally mithaftenden shareholder Adolf Kracht only two days before the official signing of the contract the name of the new owner With.